You may have an estate plan to ensure that your loved ones are cared for when you are away. But have you thought about what will happen to your pet?
Pets have a place in our hearts and homes, but by law, pets are usually considered material personal property, not unlike a car or furniture. Given that some cats and dog breeds are over 20 years old and some species of birds such as parrots, macaws and cockatoos can be over 40 to 60 years old, there is no guarantee that your pet will survive. For this reason, it is important to have an appropriate plan.
Set up the stage
First, determine who will take care of your pet. This should be someone you know well and trust to meet your needs. Talk to this person and make sure they are ready to take responsibility for your pet. Alternatively, some local or national nonprofit or human organizations will take care of your pet after you die. It is helpful to make a donation to cover the cost of this care. Check their policies to find out how they will house pets and how long they will house them before making permanent housings.
Next write your wishes in writing.
What are the options?
Wills, memoranda and pet trusts are the most common methods. Everyone has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Letter / Memorandum (separate from a will) – Some states allow individuals to send a binding letter (or a A memorandum) in which their physical property is left to a particular person if it exists when the document is signed by them, which can be a good option if you are undergoing an operation or going on a trip and do something quickly in writing so that your pet is protected in case something unexpected happens. From a legal perspective, this memorandum is deemed to be denied nt and viewed independently of any will. Memoranda are not valid in every state, so it is best to consult a local lawyer.
Pet Trust – A pet trust identifies your pet by name, names a caretaker, and appoints a trustee to manage a set. set aside money and determine the type of care your pet will receive when you are away. The trustee is responsible for the money and has legal responsibility for the caretaker to use the money ordered by the trust, including food, veterinary care, routine medication and supplements, and other recurring costs for your pet's life. The pet will live with the caretaker, who will take care of their daily needs. There may be money left in the trust after the pet's death. A remaining beneficiary must therefore be named.
A pet foundation should only cover the costs of caring for your pet. In some states, interested parties can reduce the amount of caring for a pet if a court believes that trust is overfunded. It is therefore best to clearly document your cost assumptions.
Remember, the most important thing is that you plan and implement a. A estate planner can help with the specific details. Visit www.naepc.org to find an accredited estate planner near you. You will be able to rest assured that your beloved pet is in good hands.
Note for older Planet members: If you have a companion animal and a photo that you would like to share, please add it to the comments!  Additional resources for estate planning for pets:
https://animalleague.planmylegacy.org/safe – Port Surviving Pet Care Program
Tracy Craig is a partner and chair of Mirick O & # 39; Connells Trusts and Estates Group. She works with individuals in all areas of estate and gift tax planning. She specializes in estate administration, marriage contracts, guardianships and conservatories, as well as all aspects of nonprofit planning. She works in various fiduciary functions, including as a trustee, restorer and personal representative. She also works with clients on issues that elders face.
Tracy is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and AEP®.
Photo by Steffen Kastner about Unsplash