Do Not Forget Fido: What to Know About Including Pets in Your Will

What should you know about including pets in your will? A common question from pet owners is whether you can include pets in your will.

What happens to my pet when I pass on?

Keep reading to learn all about including pets in your will.

What to Know About Including Pets in Your Will

Pets have shorter life spans than humans which is a reason not many people plan in case of sudden death, or illness from the owner. What if you end up with a sudden sickness and pass away before your fur baby? 

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead will give you peace of mind just in case something were to happen you have them taken care of and cared for. If your pet is not in your will or estate planning, they might be left without a loving home or might suffer.

While a pet owner does not consider their pet a piece of property that is what the law recognizes them to be. Some people do a verbal agreement, but this might not assure you that it will be followed through.

Include Your Pet in Your Will

Legally drafting specific instructions on your will is the only assurance that your pet will be taken care of. The first thing to know is that since pets are considered property you cannot leave any money or property directly in your pet’s name. You should leave funds to the person you choose to take care of your pet with specific instructions that the money is to be used to care for your pet.

You can choose a sum amount to give the person along with a request to please use the funds to take care of your pet. Keep in mind that even with requests to please take care of the pet the person will not be under legal obligation to take care of the pet. For this reason, make sure you select someone you trust.

Pet Trust

Every state in the United States including Washington DC has a law for establishing a trust for their pet. A trust will allow for monitoring pet owners requests and enforcing those requests.

You would create a trust where you establish who the trustee and the beneficiary are. The trustee will be the person that you give the assets to care for your pet and the beneficiary will be your fur baby.

Make sure you consult an attorney that deals with estate planning to make sure you fill the paperwork out correctly and also for their advice on the amount you choose so that other family members do not request to modify the trust if they feel it is too much.

Have Peace of Mind

Setting up your will while you are still healthy and including your pet will give you peace of mind. You will be grateful in the event of a sudden terminal illness that you have one less thing to worry about.

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