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Death can strike at any time and that is why many people plan their estates and will in advance so that their families and other loved ones are take care of even when are gone.
Children and spouses are usually our first priority when we plan our estate. But what about our fur babies? Most people do not think about what will happen to their pets after they die, so they don’t make any provisions for them in their estate plans.
Fortunately, things are now slowly changing. More and more people are getting in touch with estate planning lawyers to make sure that their fur babies are also taken care of in the event of their death.
The impact of not making provisions for your pet in your estate plan
When you adopt a pet, it means that you take on the responsibility of taking care it for as long as it lives. Which means it is your responsibility to ensure that your fur baby is taken care of even after your death.
When you do not do so, your pet gets treated by the state as property and intestate laws apply. This means that if you die, and you have heirs, then your pet can get passed on to them. If they are pet lovers, then your fur baby gets lucky. If not, then your pet may live a terrible life.
Your pet can be surrendered to a shelter or even be put to sleep. Worse still, your pet could be abandoned and left to fend for itself.
Planning your pet estate – what should you do?
Unlike earlier, there are now several options available to pet owners when they plan their estates.
First, in your will, you can choose who should take care of your pet, just like you would for other property bequeaths.
Another way to make sure your pet is taken care of is by creating a pet trust. This can either be written into your will or you can create another document which can be referred to in your will. You may also designate a guardian or a trustee for your pet, and ensure that you make provisions to pay for your pet’s care.
There are also now insurance companies that will allow you to take out life insurance for your pets. This way, your pet trust would have this policy to take care of your pet if you were to die.
And finally, your local SPCA may have programs to help you with creating provisions for your pets in your estate.
Be considerate – not just of your pets
Remember pets are family too. But that doesn’t mean you can foist them onto anyone you want. You need to make sure you discuss your plans with whoever you would like to take care of your fur baby after you’re gone. It wouldn’t be fair to them to just assume that they will take care of your pets just because you want them to.