Keywords: estate planning for petsPlanning for the future can help minimize stress, headaches, and difficulty making decisions. Although planning for what happens after your death might feel a little macabre, it is a way to ensure your final wishes are met. Estate planning for pets is an extremely important decision that ensures your beloved animals will get the care they deserve even after you are gone. Use these tips to make a plan for your animals.

The Basics of Estate Planning for Pets

Before making any other decisions about your pet’s care, it is important to decide who you will name as their caregiver after your death. Once you decide on someone you would trust with your pet’s care, you have to have an in-depth conversation with them. Make sure they are both willing and able to take on the responsibility. 

If you do not have anyone in your life who can adopt your pets after you are gone, you might want to consider finding a sanctuary or a care organization. Do research in your area to find one that will give your pets the love and attention you have given them throughout their lives.

Make a Financial Plan

Some people coordinate with another person to take over full ownership of a pet, in which case they also take on the financial responsibility. Other people choose to leave money to help the new owner offer the animal any special care they may need. Some people even set up trusts so a caregiver can move in to ensure that their pets can stay in their homes. 

You should consult an attorney about your different options so you can be certain that you are making the right financial decision for your pets and their care.

Put It in Writing

No matter what you decide for your pet, be sure to write up any specifics that are important to you in your will or in a pet trust. What’s the difference? The executor of your will can use funds left to care for your pet as they see fit. Hopefully the person or organization taking over care of your pet will follow your wishes. In contrast, specifications outlined in a pet trust must legally be followed as specified in the trust. With a trust, you can be sure that your pet will get the kind of care that you have funded and outlined.

Once you have decided exactly what you want for your pet in the case of your death, speak to an attorney about adding it to your will or trust. Make sure the people in your life have the most recent copy.  

Appoint a Trustee

If you do set up a trust for pet care, you have to assign a trustee who must see your wishes through after your death. The trustee will oversee all the finances to make sure they are properly dispersed. While you can choose someone you know personally for the role, it is usually recommended to appoint a CPA or an attorney to avoid any conflicting interests.

Your friends at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital can help ease the burden of pet care decisions, including reminding you to think about estate planning for pets. Our dedicated team is here to ensure that your pets get the best care all the time. We always want you to have access to quality, compassionate care for your animals. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (248) 363–1508.