Remember Your Pets in Estate Planning

Shar-pei-1389564“Don’t forget about your pets when making your estate plan.”

Many folks forget about what would happen to their pets, if they were no longer there to provide a safe and happy home for them.

The Milwaukee Community Journal’s recent article, “What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now,” explains that if you want to leave money for a beloved pet’s care, you can do that in your will.

If you have a will, your pets are considered your property and they would go to your beneficiaries. If you don’t leave a will, they would go to the person who would inherit your estate under state law. However, there are some other ways to leave money for a pet’s care.

Leave money to a pet-loving friend. You can leave money to a trusted friend for the care of your pet, by making a gift to that person in your will. It’s an informal approach to providing for your pet, but it often works just fine.

Pet trust. All 50 states and DC now let people create a pet trust to hold money for the benefit of a pet. You name a person in charge of managing and spending the money, with a written set of instructions. It’s more formal than leaving a monetary gift to a friend. However, unlike the gift method, it’s legally binding.

Money to a pet rescue organization. You could also leave money to a pet rescue organization, like a no-kill sanctuary, for the lifetime care of your pet. This type of gift will benefit both the organization and your pet.

Many of us think of our pets as members of the family. It makes sense to arrange for their continued care, just as you would any other beloved family member.

Reference: Milwaukee Community Journal (June 5, 2018) “What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now”