Pets can be family to many people, but they're often forgotten when it come to estate planning. Many assume that they will outlive their pets or that arrangements will be made for them. Unfortunately, this can lead to a pet ending up in the shelter; if everyone believes the pet has already been taken care of, no one will take care of it. A clear estate plan can help.
Pets Are Considered Property
By law, pets are property. That complicates issues. Pets are not considered family and have no rights. If you pass away and no one knows about your pets, it's likely that they will be taken by animal control and sent to the shelter.
Since pets are considered property, if they are inherited and there is no will, they will be distributed like property. Property division usually goes to a surviving spouse first, then children, and then grandchildren. However, if no one can take the pet, it will again be going to the shelter.
Discussing Your Pets with Your Family
Your first step to creating an estate plan should be to discuss who can take your pets. You should then make a short list of at least three people, in order of priority, who should "inherit" your pets, just as though they were another asset. You may want to consider the fact that pets and their medical costs can be extremely expensive; if you're giving your pets away, you may need to offer some form of financial consideration.
Making a Trust for Your Pet
Though it may seem silly, a way to make sure that your pet is taken care of is to create a trust for your pet. Many people do this as a way of ensuring that the "trustee" taking care of the pet has enough money for medical bills. A trust doesn't have to be a large amount of money; a $5,000 trust for your pet's food and medicine expenses could be enough to help a friend or family member.
Everything about your estate plan and your pets needs to be written down, reviewed by a lawyer, and notarized. Otherwise there could be confusion after you pass. Many people put off their estate plan and will thinking they will have time later on, or they believe that because they don't have significant assets, they don't need his form of protection. Nothing could be further from the truth.Share
5 June 2018
My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.