Pet Parent Estate Planning

Family Pet Plan

One should always discuss final arrangements for your pets with friends and family.

You may leave instructions in your will directing your executor to deposit an amount in a bank account to be used by the caretaker to provide for the reasonable keep and care of your pet(s). You should designate a per day rate for as long as the pet is expected to live, in addition to setting aside funds for medical emergencies. Also one should determine upon the death of the pet(s) where the balance of the estate is to go to (i.e. humane society, pet rescue shelter).

Place your will in a safe yet easily found location and make sure your friends and family are aware of where these records are stored. (Safe deposit box, trustee, etc) otherwise your instructions may not be found until well after other arrangements may have been made concerning your pets.

Write a Pet Will

Designate a friend or family member to be the trustee of your pet after you're gone or designate a backup individual or adoption plan at shelter/humane society.

Note: The pet's age, Type of food and feeding instructions, Exercise Instructions, Special need, Medical History, Indoor/outdoor preferences, Spaying/Neutering instructions, Authorization for Euthanasia to alleviate suffering, Burial or cremation/scattering wishes.

For peace of mind, I.D. micro-chipping your pet ensures that executors have the ability to confirm identity of your pet.

Establishing a Pet Trust

“Any person may establish a pet trust for the care of designated domestic or pet animals. A pet trust may provide for the care of individually named animals, but any animal provided for under the trust must be living at the time of the trustor’s death… If the trust instrument makes no provision for termination of the trust, the trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust or when all trust assets are exhausted, whichever occurs first.”

Guardians are unable to leave a pet money in a will. Pet parents can pass on a trust leaving their pets to a new guardian to cover the expense of your pet's lifetime care. You may specify provisions and specific instructions, but without the help of a professional these can be difficult to enforce. Almost all states have statutory pet trusts which can be added to your will. Some guardians also leave a gift on behalf of their pets to a local animal shelter.