You cannot exactly leave your pet money in a will, but there are several things you can do to make sure they stay well cared for when you can no longer take care of them. Here are some options:
- Leave your pet to someone in your will or living trust and give them some money to be able to provide care. Be sure to have a discussion with the person in mind prior to doing this.
- Create a pet trust to leave money to go toward caring for your animal(s).
- Find a charitable organization who has a program to provide or find a home for your animal
The easiest way to assure that you will provide care for your pet after you die is to leave your pet (and some money) through a provision in your will or living trust. The person you name will become the owner of your pet and will receive outright any money you leave to him or her for your pet’s care. Keep in mind the person you name will not have any legal obligation to care for your pet or use the money in any particular way. Make sure you are naming someone you trust and remember you can leave instructions for your pet’s care in a separate document.
One estate planning tool you can use to create a legal obligation to care for your pet is a Pet Trust. In this document, you name a person to care for your pet, provide specific instructions for your pet’s care, and leave money just for that purpose. When you die, the person named as trustee will get the money as well as the pet. Under a pet trust, the trustee will have to follow your instructions and use the money only for the care of your pet, unlike a provision in a will or living trust.
Perhaps you just want to prepare if you are temporarily unable to care for your animals. If you get injured today, what will happen to your furry friend? Who would care for them? In honor of National Pet Month, Van Dyck Law is creating a Pet Emergency Card where you can name a personal representative who would be called should you have an accident or if you fall ill to come care for your pet. We always talk about the importance of preparing for what is to come. Our pets are our family members. Simply reach out to to request your Pet Emergency Card. We will ask just a bit of information including your pet’s name and breed who you would want someone to call in case of an emergency. As always, we are here for your estate plan needs which will always include your pets. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss creating a pet trust or getting started with an estate plan to protect all of your family members, please call our office at 609-580-1044 and we will help you plan for life ahead.