If you have a pet, you know firsthand the bond that can develop between humans and animals. Many of us consider our pets part of the family. But have you considered what would happen to your furry or feathered companion if something were to happen to you? Over 500k pets are abandoned each year due to the death or disability of their owner. These pets could have been protected with just a little planning.
It is prudent to include your pet in your estate plan for a number of reasons. First, you want to make certain there is someone designated to take care of your pet in case of your death. Second, you want to provide clear instructions for your pet’s care. Third, you want to leave sufficient funds to ensure that your pet receives the best possible care.
Including your pet in your estate plan is a little different than including one of your children. For one thing, pets are not people, so they cannot own property. This means you cannot leave money or property directly to your pet. Another issue that arises when incorporating your pet into your estate plan is that communication becomes an especially high priority. You want to make sure the person you designate to care for your pet after your death wants the job and understands all of the responsibilities that come with the job.
As with other important estate planning decisions, it is wise to explore your pet planning options with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Barrington, IL. He or she can help you pick the planning method that best meets your needs and make sure that all the formalities are met, so that you can be confident your pet will continue to enjoy a happy, healthy life after your death.
Thanks to Bott & Associates, Ltd. for their insight into estate planning and pets