What will happen to my pet when I die?

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Some people refer to them as “fur-babies” while others call them their “four-legged children.” However you refer to your pets, one thing is clear: our pets are part of our family. The thought of our pets being placed in a shelter upon our death or incapacitation is one we cannot tolerate. However, if you do not make provisions for your pet in your estate plan, that is exactly what could happen. Our attorneys can discuss several ways you can provide for your pet to ensure he or she has a long, healthy life, even if you are unable to be here to share it.

Leaving Money for the Care of a Pet through a Will

No matter how much you love your pet, you cannot leave your pet money or property. A pet is unable to inherit your assets; therefore, you must provide for your pet in another way. One way is to leave money to someone through your will with the request that this person use the money to care for your pet. Unfortunately, he or she is not legally required to care for your pet. While you may trust this person, there may be a better way to ensure your pet is cared for after your death.

Creating a Pet Trust

By creating a pet trust, you ensure that the money you leave for the care and upkeep of your pet will actually be used for your pet. A pet trust is similar to other types of trusts in that you name a trustee and direct the trustee to provide for the care of your pet using the funds you placed within the trust. Through your pet trust, you can provide detailed instructions for the care and upkeep of your pet; however, you must ensure you place sufficient funds within the trust for the standard of care you require (i.e. food, treats, grooming, daycare, yearly checkups, medications, vaccinations, etc.). You may even appoint a successor trustee should the trustee be unable to fulfill his or her duties under the trust.
Providing for a pet is an important step in the estate planning process for many individuals. You can also find resources that can help you as you plan for your pet’s future through the Humane Society of the United States. You can receive a free kit that includes emergency pet care instruction forms, stickers for your home to notify emergency workers of a pet, and other forms and information to help you care for your pet.

Do you have questions about providing for your pet in your Ohio estate plan?

The estate planning attorneys of Lovett & Lovett Co., LPA want to help you draft a plan to provide for your beloved pet after your death or in the event of your incapacitation. We can discuss several ways you can provide for your pet to determine what will work best for your situation. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. It is our desire to take your wishes and turn them into an estate plan that provides for all of your loved ones—human or not.

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