Preserve Your Legacy

Estate Planning | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning


Your Estate Plan & Your Pets

When you are planning your estate during the earlier stages of adulthood you are going to have a very different focus that you will have later on. If you have dependent children still in the home, making sure that they are provided for come what may will be your primary concern.

Financially you can protect them by purchasing adequate life insurance coverage, and this is something that estate planners will always emphasize. In addition, you will also need to make sure that you name a guardian in your will so your wishes are known should you and your spouse pass away suddenly in an accident. And if you are a single parent, choosing a guardian is even more important.

When your children reach the age of adulthood your estate planning focus will shift, and you might think that the need to concern yourself with potential guardians no longer exists. This is true, unless…you have pets. If you do, one of the things that you will have to consider when you are planning your estate is how they will be cared for in the event of your death or incapacitation.

The way that many people address the matter is to select someone that they know and name this person in their will as the caregiver for the pet, bequeathing a sum of money as well to provide for the care of the animal. It is advisable to name an alternate caregiver as well to cover your bases should something happen to the primary choice.

Another way to go about it is to create a pet trust to provide for the pet in the event of your passing or incapacitation. You simply fund the trust and name the caregiver while also selecting a trustee to distribute funds from the trust for the animal’s ongoing care and provide oversight to make sure that the pet is being looked after properly.