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How to include your pet in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2023 | Estate Planning |

As you begin to plan your estate, your focus may be on distributing assets, naming beneficiaries and specifying your final wishes. However, an important aspect that is often overlooked is the welfare of your pet.

According to NBC News, approximately 500,000 cats and dogs find themselves in shelters each year due to emergencies or the passing of their owners. This statistic highlights the importance of including your beloved companion in your estate plan.

Pet guardianship

To add your pet to your plan, you must select a guardian who will assume the role of caring for them when you are no longer able to do so. Make sure the individual you choose is both willing and capable of offering love, attention and resources to guarantee your pet’s well-being. It also helps to have an open conversation with them to discuss your expectations and confirm they are comfortable with the responsibility.

Financial provisions

Your pet has their own financial requirements, including food, medical care, grooming and boarding expenses. To ensure ongoing care, you have the option of designating a specific sum of money in your will or creating a pet trust fund for them. This establishes a legal structure to safeguard their financial security.

Care instructions

Documenting your pet’s unique needs will help the appointed guardian as they transition into the role of caretaker. Provide instructions on your animal’s daily routines, dietary preferences, medical history and any special requirements they have. Include contact information for your pet’s veterinarian and other resources necessary for them to receive proper treatment.

Adding your pet to your estate plan grants you peace of mind, knowing they will continue to receive excellent care in the future.