As a responsible pet owner, you’ve probably considered who you would prefer to look after your pet in the event of your death, but are you sure you’ve covered all your bases when it comes to thorough pet planning?
Let’s say that you have a dog and a cat, each of whom you’ve asked to be cared for by a separate individual. You’ve set aside funds for the general care of your pets, but have not clarified how much is to go to the care of each pet specifically. The situation could easily become messy, with both caretakers arguing over how much money they are entitled to.
What are some pet planning alternatives?
It’s best to include a directive in one’s Will that clearly provides for the care of each animal, including a discrete stipend amount for the appointed caretaker. Typically, a pet owner will discuss such terms with the agreed caretaker before adding it to their Will.
Pet Planning Oversight #1
Though many people include directives in their Will to make sure their pets are cared for when they die, too many do not think to include instruction in the event that they must move into an assisted living facility where pets are not allowed.
Sometimes pet owners will set up a trust for their pet’s care, to address all questions of care if the owner must trust their pets care to someone else’s care. In this case, the pet owner makes clear the guidelines and types of care that are needed by the animal(s).
Alternative Means of Protecting the Care-taking of Your Pet
An alternative to a pet trust is a Pet Protection Agreement , which is basically a contract with a third party detailing the care of the animal. This option is much simpler and so often utilized as part of pet planning.
If you would like more information about planning for the care of your pet, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer via our contact form or give us a call at (317) 684-1100.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.