woman hugging her dog

Why and How to Provide for a Pet In Your Estate Plan

Oh, the burden of setting up an estate plan. With so many steps to take in the process of planning your estate, it can be easy to unintentionally leave some important things out, such as providing for the furry member of your family in your overall plan – your pet.

Pets are an important part of a majority of the population of the United States and the world – currently, sixty-seven percent of U.S. households (85 million families) own at least one. It may be hard to admit that you haven’t thought about your pet (or pets) when creating your estate plan, but should that fateful day ever happen, it would be wise to have a plan in place for their continuing care, too. With that in mind, there are a number of reasons why you should provide for your pet in your estate plan:

Why Should You Provide for Your Pet?

1. Your pet is a meaningful part of your life and you would want it to be cared for.
2. You don’t have anyone to take care of them should something happen to you.
3. He/she will potentially have a longer lifespan than you.
4. You worry about what would happen to your companion if something happened to you.
5. Your pets are your family.
6. You value them greatly.

Caring for your pet means not only caring for them in the present but thinking about them in the occurrence that something should happen to you. So, how can you provide for your pet in your estate planning?

Choosing A Caretaker In Your Will

One way to provide for your pet in your estate plan is by leaving your pet to a family member or a trusted individual in your will. You may also include dividends of money specifically for the purpose and use of caring for your pet. It may be wise to consult with the person you wish to care for your animal after you’re gone, and in your will, you may designate specific ways in which your desired caretaker should look after your companion. You may also specify a humane organization or charity that you would like to leave your animal to instead of a specific person if you prefer.

Setting Up a Trust

Setting up a trust for your pet is slightly more difficult than putting them in your will, as there are a multitude of documents that will need to be created. However, it is one of the best options to care for your companion and is created much in the same way of setting up a trust for a child or grandchild. A trust will allow you to choose a primary caretaker for your pet, as well as assign a trustee to look after any funds you allocate towards the pet’s care.

Making plans to care for your pet after you’re gone is one of the most loving and caring things you can do for them. Individuals looking to plan their estate, and hopefully include their pet, can get in contact with us today. Our attorneys live and practice in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. We are a client business service and provide prompt and cost-efficient legal services with specific expertise in estate planning.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Cristian R. Arrieta, Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman, A Professional Corporation, 300 E. Esplanade Drive Suite 850, Oxnard, CA 93036