Pet Placement & Estate Planning

When you are engaged in inheritance planning you basically have to answer two questions: who are the people you would like to provide something for, and what are you going to bequeath to each of them? When it comes to most hard assets it is largely a matter of dividing them up based on monetary value and distributing these portions in the manner that you choose. But there are certain possessions that have particular sentimental value that may mean more to one family member than the others. The various things that you pass along will also be given to your heirs according to their interests. In other words, the golfer in the family gets the clubs and the cart, and the musician gets the piano.

So when you are planning how you are going to distribute all of your valuables you try to determine who is the best match for each item. Believe it or not, you may have one or two prized possessions that can kind of tell you who they would like to wind up with after you pass away, and these would be your pets. If you have a dog, cat, or some other type of pet, these family members are going to need a home just like your classic Corvette, and you need to make sure you identify the right one.

You probably already know the family member or friend who would be the best new owner for your pet, and many people have a “pet sitter” that the animal is familiar with. But as you start to reach the latter part of your life it is a good idea to make sure that your pet and the person who has agreed to take care of it get plenty of bonding time. To make it official you can name the guardian of your pet in your will, and you may want to leave this person a bequest to defray the costs associated with caring for your four-legged friend. Many animals, like reptiles and some birds, have a significant lifespan and will generally outlive their owners. But for an older person, even a companion like a horse or dog may outlive them. A pet trust is one sure way to ensure that your beloved pet will be cared for properly, even if you are not there to do it. If you need to ensure that your pet receives the care that it deserves, feel free to contact our office for an appointment.

All My Children Wear Furs

If you count a furry loved one among your family members it is important to provide for his or her care after your death. You can create a pet plan by naming someone to take your pet in after you have gone and by leaving funds for your pet’s medical care and daily needs.

Name a Guardian

If you have a verbal agreement with a family member, friend or neighbor as to the care of your pet after you pass away, why not make it a written agreement. Like naming a Guardian for your children, naming someone to care for your pet can provide you with peace of mind.

If you do not choose a pet caregiver via your Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust, your furry friend may not have the fate you desire. There may be a battle among family member’s to take your pet in, or no one may be willing to take custody and your animal could end up in a shelter.

Leave Funds for Pet’s Care

Your pet’s nutritional and medical needs will continue after you have passed away. What if your chosen caregiver does not have the financial means to care for your pet, or what if you simply want to provide exceptional care above the standard?

You can make sure your pet is financially cared for after your death by leaving a Pet Trust. This is an Irrevocable Trust that allows you to name a Trustee to distribute funds for your pet’s needs. You can name a different Trustee than your chosen Guardian if you feel your Guardian could not handle the financial responsibility. A Trust may also be useful if your Guardian receives government aid that would be affected by an inheritance for pet care. Mississippi is one of a minority of states that does not specifically provide for pet trust by statute. However, there are alternative ways to address your pets’ needs through your estate plan to ensure that sufficient funds are available to care for your pet.

If a Pet Trust seems unnecessary for your needs, you can also leave a direct inheritance to your chosen Guardian for your pet’s care. Another option is to leave a lump sum of money to your Veterinarian for your pet’s future medical care. This option would require your caregiver to cover additional costs out-of-pocket when funds run out.