Our pets give us love. They share our beds. We even buy them birthday presents. And though you might consider Fido to be a bona fide member of the family, the law has a different perspective. Your dog is your personal property — no different from your car or the silver china.
But unlike your other personal property, there’s good reason to include your pet in your estate plan. Here’s why your pet deserves a place in your will.
1. Your Pet Could End Up Lonely, Or Worse
Though pets have shorter life spans than people, many pet owners will die before their animals do. And those who fail to make arrangements for their furry friend’s future care take on the risk that their beloved animal could be condemned to an ownerless life in an animal shelter — or worse. Often, pets without owners are euthanized when there are no immediate options to find them a new home.
2. You Can Designate Funds for Pet Care
Funding is optional, but a future pet care fund is recommended for pet owners who want to ensure that their pet receives a certain quality of care in the event that they’re no longer around to see to it themselves. You can designate a fixed amount or a percentage of a bank account, insurance policy, retirement fund, or even a portion of the sale of a home.
If you do decide to designate funding for pet care, you need to figure out how much. Consider that pets are more expensive as they age. How long is your pet expected to live? Do you plan to compensate a person or organization to see your pet care wishes through, or are you only interested in setting aside funding for the actual pet care services?
It’s also important to determine who or what organization will be in charge of the funds. In a pet trust,…