If you have pets, you likely consider them part of your family. You may be concerned about what will happen to your pets when you die. Some people have actually provided an inheritance for their pets, but there are some complications with this.
Legally you cannot leave money to a pet. What you can do is leave your pets to someone, along with money to take care of those pets. If you’re considering this option, you may want to put together a detailed plan for the care of your pet; such plans often include directions for medical care and other necessities for the pet.
If you have a pet and you want to be sure that they will be taken care of when you are gone, talk with friends and family to find someone who is willing to take your pet in if something should happen to you. Once you know who will care for your pet, put this information in your will or trust, including the money you intend to leave to that person for the care of your pet. You also have the option of setting up what’s called a statutory pet trust where you simply specify a certain amount of money you will leave for your pet’s care. All other decisions are made by the state (this option is available in most, by not all, states).
Although it is unfortunate, there are some situations to where pet owners simply cannot find someone that can take care of their pet in the event that something should happen to them. Perhaps you don’t know anyone that has the proper facilities to care for an animal, or you can’t fund a trust.
If you find yourself in this situation and are worrying about what will happen to your pet when you are gone, you’ll be happy to know that there are programs that take in animals of deceased persons and find new homes for them. You can also look for a local rescue group, which will provide temporary care until they can match your pet with a new home.
To prepare for this situation, you’ll want to contact one of these programs to find out if you and your pet are eligible. If you qualify, make arrangements with them ahead of time. Write the name of the program or rescue group that you’ll be leaving your pet with into your will. Also write a detailed letter with instructions for your pet’s care in a place where it will be found, as it may take some time before your will is read.