Estate Planning for Those You Love (Including Four-Legged Children)!

Cat and dog

There is no doubt about it: pets are members of the family. Whether you are a cat person, a dog lover, or prefer the company of birds or guinea pigs, most people can agree that these furry friends are indeed precious and are treated like children. As you plan for the future, you may be wondering: what will happen to my pets should I become incapacitated or pass away? Thankfully, there are several options available to ensure the best possible outcome for your beloved pets.

 

Pets in Your Will

If you feel passionately about what happens to your pets after you pass away or become incapacitated, you may want to spell out your preferences for them in your will. For instance, if you are experiencing health issues and are concerned about what might happen to your beloved “fur baby” should you pass, you can list a preferred caretaker in your will. Such a clause might also outline how your fur baby’s feeding and veterinary costs will be covered. While you can bequeath the caretaker with money intended to pay for these expenses, they will not be legally required to use those funds as you intended them to be used for your pet.

 

Trusts for Pets

Eager to secure a fund for your pet’s care after you pass? You may want to weigh the benefits of creating a trust for your pets. With a trust, you can create a legal obligation to care for the pet as described in the provisions that are drafted throughout the trust. A trust also provides accountability for the money you will leave the caretaker to be sure it is used for your pet’s benefit. Such a document will even allow you to create a caretaking plan that goes into effect the moment you become incapacitated.

Pet trusts are a more secure option than wills, but they are also quite inflexible. Should circumstances need adjusting, caretakers may struggle to make changes to the way your pet is cared for. Regardless of whether you make arrangements for your pets in your will or in a trust, you will want to include secondary caretaker designation, just in case situations change over time.

 

Other Arrangements

What if you do not have a trusted friend or family member to take care of your pets? You can also make plans to leave animals in the care of your preferred shelter or charity organization. There are rescues dedicated to helping rehome pets in this exact situation. By making a plan ahead of time, you can ensure a seamless transition for your furry friends and ensure they are taken care of even upon your passing.

Hegwood Law Group has experience planning ahead for the well-being of your fur babies. To find out how to protect your pets, call us at (281) 885-8826 or click here to schedule your complimentary strategy session today.

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