A pet trust is your best option for protecting your pet within your estate plan. Like any trust, you will appoint someone as the Trustee of the trust and you will fund the trust with sufficient assets to care for your pet in your absence. The Trustee of your trust is legally obligated to use the utmost care when managing the trust assets and to follow the trust terms just as you wrote them. Those terms can be used to dictate how you wish your pet to be care for in as much, or as little, detail … [Read more...] about What is a pet trust and how can it help me?
Because your pet is considered your property, you can gift him/her to someone in your Last Will and Testament. Gifting your pet in your Will, however, does not legally obligate your caregiver to take over the care and maintenance of your pet nor does it provide a satisfactory funding method. You can also gift funds that are intended to be used to care for your pet; however, once gifted in a Will, the funds become the property of the beneficiary to do with as he/she pleases. In addition, gifting … [Read more...] about Can I gift my pet to my chosen caregiver in my Will?
While you undoubtedly think of your pet as a member of the family, the law considers an animal to be property. Therefore, ownership of that “property” needs to be legally transferred to a new owner after your death. In the event of your incapacity, someone needs the legal authority to take control of that “property” during your incapacity. … [Read more...] about Is my pet considered property?
Discussing plans for your pet with a trusted family member or friend is certainly a good start; however, there are several reasons why such a simple arrangement falls short of protecting your pet. First, your intended caregiver could be unable or unwilling to fulfill the agreement when the time comes and there is no legal way to enforce the agreement. Second, although you may not view your pet as your property, the law does, and a verbal agreement does not legally transfer ownership. Finally, a … [Read more...] about I made arrangements with a friend for my pet. Isn’t that sufficient?
Sometimes, the best way to persuade someone of the importance of doing something is to illustrate what happens if you don’t do it. Failing to include your pet in your estate plan can have disastrous consequences for your pet. Sadly, over half a million pets wind up in shelters each year because they are overlooked or abandoned after the death or incapacity of their owner. Your loved ones may be so focused on their worry or grief that your pet simply gets lost. Fortunately, you can prevent that … [Read more...] about What might happen if I don’t include my pet in my estate plan?
If you own a pet, you probably devote a considerable amount of time and money to your pet. Despite this, your pet may not be included in your estate plan yet. If you consider your pet to be part of the family – as many Americans do – why wouldn’t you include him/her in your estate plan? You may not have realized that your pet could be included in your plan. Not only can your pet be included in your estate plan, but doing so is crucial if you want to ensure that your beloved family pet is well … [Read more...] about Why do I need to include my pet in my estate plan?