Have You Considered Your Pet In Your Estate Plan?

Estate planning experts urge pet owners to prepare for the possibility that their animal companions may outlive them.

When it comes to planning for the well-being of your family, do not forget to plan for every member, furry and four-legged or otherwise. If something were to happen to you, then the future of your pets may be left to chance. Consequently, your special friends have only you to plan for their future without you.

This subject was considered by The Humane Society in a recent article titled simply “Backup Plan.

What does a backup plan for your pet look like? Well, the answer is pet-specific.  Assuming you are not in the lion-taming business, then there are any number of simple things you can do. Beyond that, however, the key is to follow through and actually complete the necessary legal planning. Good intentions will do little for your pet, large or small.

The basic question is where will your pets go if you are gone? Perhaps you have a large number of family members or friends who are pet lovers. If yes, then you must narrow down the field of suitable candidates to appoint just the right person who can and will care for your pet. This can be tricky if you actually are a lion tamer, or even the owner of horses or exotic pets.

Something further to consider, especially in those outlier cases, is the expense of owning the pet. Will there be enough money to provide for the ongoing expenses of caring for your pet? Many pet owners are including “pet trusts” as part of their estate plans to provide for these ongoing expenses and to even compensate those who care for your pet. Utah Trust Code allows for the creation of a trust for the care of a pet or an animal.  Section 75-7-408, Utah Code Annotated.  Making such a provision in your will or trust can be easily made by your attorney and will provide you peace of mind for your beloved pet.

If your pet or pets are an important part of your life, then take time to make proper arrangements for them as part of your estate plan.

Reference: The Humane Society (June 20, 2013) “Backup Plan

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