Many Americans view pets as cherished members of their families. They provide them with love, care and attention throughout their lives, just as they would any other family member. Yet, many adults who care for pets in devoted ways don’t take time to consider what might happen to their dear companions in the event that those caregiving adults are incapacitated by illness or injury or die before their pets do.
If you’re a devoted pet owner, know that including provisions for your pets in your estate plan is a thoughtful way to ensure their well-being, even if/when you’re no longer able to care for them personally.
Basic planning steps
One of the most critical steps in addressing your pets in your estate plan is designating a caregiver. This person will be responsible for providing a loving home and proper care for your pets in the event you can no longer do so. It’s important to discuss this role with the chosen caregiver beforehand and confirm that they are willing and able to take on the responsibility.
In addition to financial provisions, it’s essential to provide detailed care instructions for your pets in your estate plan. Outline their daily routines, dietary preferences, exercise needs and any specific medical conditions or medications they require. The more comprehensive your instructions, the smoother the transition will be for your pets.
Finally, you may want to consider crafting a pet trust which will allow you to set aside funds for the care of your pets. The trustee you name will be responsible for managing the funds and ensuring they are used exclusively for your pets’ well-being.
Ultimately, addressing your pets in your estate plan is a loving and responsible way to ensure their well-being in the event you can no longer care for them.