Making Sure Pets Are Cared For in Your Estate Plan
Many Americans consider their pets to be members of their families, but that emotional attachment doesn’t always translate into a practical plan for their pets’ future. Many pet owners fail to make plans for their pets in the event of their own incapacity or death, leaving the animals in precarious positions. If you’re a responsible pet owner, your estate plan should include arrangements for your pets that appoint someone to care for them for the rest of their lives and ideally set aside funds for such care. That can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
You can set up a pet care trust with the assistance of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. The trust would establish an account to fund your pet’s care and name a person of your choice to serve as trustee. With a trust, you can ensure that there will be enough money to care for your pets in the manner you wish. Such funds would pay for things like food, veterinary care, and grooming but could also be used to pay for temporary boarding until a permanent home is settled.
In addition to making sure your pet’s future is protected through your estate plan, you can take steps such as asking someone in advance, such as a family member or friend, to make sure that your pet is cared for in the immediate aftermath of your death. If you don’t have a specific person in mind, some animal rescue organizations promise to care for a pet for the duration of its lifetime in exchange for a bequest in your will. Arrangements with these organizations can be especially useful when owners want to ensure that multiple pets currently living together will be able to stay together indefinitely.
When Florida pet owners fail to plan ahead for their pets, there is always the chance that these once-loved family members will wind up in a shelter. While some shelters provide better conditions than others, nearly all shelters take in more animals than they can accommodate long term, which means your pet may risk being euthanized for space if he or she is not adopted. That should be the last thing you want to happen. And with a little planning, it never has to.
For help dealing with even the most complex estate planning issues, speak with an experienced Florida trusts attorney at the Charles Law Offices.