If You Have Pets

Many pet owners consider their pets to be an integral part of their families.  If you have pets, it is important to think about what will happen to them after you die.  A good estate planner can help you provide for your loved ones of the four-legged variety.  Among the issues you will need to think about are the following:

  • You need to think pragmatically about who might be able to care for your pets after your death.  There are many wonderful people who cannot realistically be called upon to take care of animals.  Maybe they’re just not “pet people.”  Maybe they have allergies that preclude them from having animals in their homes.  Maybe they don’t have enough space in their homes, or enough time in their schedules, to be able to take in a pet.
  • In addition to choosing a caretaker for your pets, you should also think about giving the caretaker sufficient financial resources to provide for the animals.  Taking care of your animals could be a significant financial burden to the caretaker, particularly if you have multiple pets, or if you have pets with special medical needs, or if your animals require special care or accommodations (for example, horses or farm animals).
  • In  some cases, it might be prudent to set up a separate trust for the care of your animals.  Your estate planner can help you decide if this would be a good option for you.