Pets are important members of the family, but it is often unclear what should happen to them after the owners pass. If your furry friends are important to you, and their long-term care is a legitimate concern, it is in your interests to incorporate terms for your pets in your overall estate planning strategy. With the right plans in place, you can have the final say in what happens with them after you pass or in case of incapacitation.
Estate planning allows you to have a certain measure of control over important matters well into the future, including what happens to your property and your finances. Pets are technically property, and you may want to include certain provisions that will secure their care and well-being. The types of plans you need for your pets depends on your specific goals and objectives, as well as other factors that could impact their care long-term.
Factors to consider
It is not always easy to determine what a pet may need in the future. In order to plan well for these members of the family through your estate plan, the following issues could determine your planning strategy:
- Unique care requirements or complex medical needs
- Willingness of family members to care for the pet
- Desired living arrangement, such as the home of a loved one or a pet sanctuary
- Ability to set aside funds for the care of your pet
- Specific party responsible for the pet’s daily care
- Management of assets set aside for the care of the pet
As you consider estate planning for your pets, it may be helpful to think carefully about what will be best long-term. While you may want a loved one to take your pet in case you pass, that is not always the most practical or prudent choice. Discuss your goals with loved ones and consider choices that will provide the most stability for these members of the family long-term.
A complete estate plan
The best estate plan is the one custom-tailored to your individual needs and objectives. If you want to include your pet in your estate planning strategy, it will be helpful to start with an understanding of specific planning tools and how you can implement them in ways that allow you to craft a smart and thoughtful plan. With the interests of your pets secure, you can look to the future with confidence, knowing you’ve provided for the long-term needs of these beloved members of the family.