While pet owners may love and cherish their pets in a human-like manner, pets are technically considered “property” and, therefore, cannot inherit cash or property after you die. However, if you had intended to set aside funds specifically for your pet’s care, there is still an option to ensure that your beloved pets are cared for by creating a Pet Trust.
Before you begin to plan out every detail of your pet’s trust, let’s take a look at the definition of a Human Trust first; a Trust is defined as “a contract that usually sets forth who will manage one’s assets, be in charge of seeing that bills are paid, and how distribution of one’s property is to take place upon death to your beneficiaries.” If we apply this to our pet’s, we essentially are creating a detailed care plan on who and how our pets will be cared for if we cannot do so ourselves.
As you consider the elements of your pet Estate Planning, one of the biggest decisions is who you will entrust with the care of your precious pet. The first step to Pet Trust Estate Planning is to “Identify a Caregiver.” Remember to discuss your expectations with the assigned caregiver and ensure that you will feel comfortable with the care they will provide to your pet.
Once a caregiver is decided upon, step two is to “document your pet’s care instructions.” These instructions will be included in your trust and act as a guide for your pet’s caregiver. Prior to your Estate Plan meeting, go through your daily routine with your pet and write down any specific actions or activities that you would like to be included in your pet’s instructions. Elements you may wish to consider include: Exercise & Lifestyle, Veterinary Care & Medicine, Favorite Toys & Activities, Pet Burial preference, and Grooming needs. Make sure to discuss these with your pet and their potential future caregiver!
Step three is to “allocate funding for your pet’s care.” If your pet is high maintenance and requires expensive care, funding their trust is very important to ensure they have enough funds to maintain their luxurious lifestyle. Create an estimate of your pet’s care needs to allow your attorney to determine the necessary funding that should be allocated to your pet’s needs.
Whether you are a pet owner who already has their own will/trust completed or you are hoping to complete your Estate Planning soon, set up an appointment with Konstantakis Law Office to ensure that your pets' are cared for when you are no longer there to provide them with loving care of your own. Our office can include your pet’s needs within your own Estate Planning Session or modify existing documents. Just call (414) 427-6181 to discuss Estate Planning today!
Contact our office to take the first step towards securing the future of your estate.
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