How Do You Make An Estate Plan For Your Pets?
If you're like most pet owners, you probably treat your pets like they're your kids. This should include not just every day but in case something ever happened to you. The way you make sure your pets would be cared for is with an estate plan. Here's what you need to do.
Who Will Take Your Pets?
Your pets are considered property under the law. That means you can and should put in your will who you want to take your pets. Of course, you should also ask that person to make sure they'd be willing and able to do so.
The reason you want to leave your pets in your will instead of just asking someone is to avoid any disputes. You don't want multiple friends and family members each trying to take in your pets. You also don't want your family agreeing to give your pets to someone who you'd never want to have them.
Can You Leave Your Pets Money?
A major concern of leaving your pets to someone is that they might not have enough money to take care of their pets, or you don't think they'd spoil your pets like you do. This could lead to you wanting to leave money to your pets. This gets tricky since your pets are property and can't own anything. When you give them a toy, it technically belongs to you.
You can leave money for your pets by creating a trust. A trust is a special account that holds money that can only be used for a special purpose. In this case, you'd say how it should be spent on your pets. The money in the trust is managed by a human you choose called a trustee.
What if You're in the Hospital?
You may also need someone to temporarily take care of your pets if you get into an accident or have a serious illness. Again, you want to put your plan into writing. In addition to who should take your pets, you may want a power of attorney who can access money you've set aside to use on your pets. To make this easier, you might want to open a separate bank account for your pet expenses that you use during normal times and your power of attorney can access in an emergency.
To learn more about how to make an estate plan for your pets, talk to a local estate planning attorney today.