If you are a furry “parent” who loves your pets, be sure to include plans to care for your pet after you are gone. Help them avoid a sad fate.
Animal shelters are the final home for many cats and dogs whose owners neglect to plan for their care, wrongly assuming that their children will take care of their pets. Others meet a worse fate and are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. One way you can do this is to leave money for a pet’s care in your estate plan, as reported in The Milwaukee Community Journal’s recent article, “What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now.”
If you have a will, your pets are considered your property and they would go to your beneficiaries. If you don’t leave a will, they would go to the person who would inherit your estate under state law. However, there are some other ways to leave money for a pet’s care.
Leave money to a pet-loving friend. You can leave money to a trusted friend for the care of your pet, by making a gift to that person in your will. It’s an informal approach to providing for your pet, but it often works just fine.
Pet trust. All 50 states and DC now let people create a pet trust to hold money for the benefit of a pet. You name a person in charge of managing and spending the money, with a written set of instructions. It’s more formal than leaving a monetary gift to a friend. However, unlike the gift method, it’s legally binding.
Money to a pet rescue organization. You could also leave money to a pet rescue organization, like a no-kill sanctuary, for the lifetime care of your pet. This type of gift will benefit both the organization and your pet.
The possibility of your pet predeceasing you, may keep you from feeling the need to make these plans. However, you and your furry kid will be better off, if this planning is done now.
Reference: Milwaukee Community Journal (June 5, 2018) “What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now”