Estate planning for your pets

Estate planning for your pets

Group News posted in on 19 July 2017| comments
audience: The Boston Foundation | last updated: 19 July 2017
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His name is Charlie. I give him a kiss in the morning and another one before bed. He is neither my husband nor my son. He is my dog and I love him dearly.

Many owners treat their pets like children and members of their family, but from an estate perspective, they are personal property. Despite their legal determination as property, there are a number of reasons for including your furry friend in your estate plan.

1. You may die before your pets do. It is generally assumed that owners will survive their pets but this is not always the case. Pets without owners may be sent to a shelter and if not adopted, may be euthanized.

2. You may want to keep your pets together. Bonds develop between pets, especially if they were raised together. Including your pets in your estate plan allows you to state your wishes that they be kept together, which will save them additional emotional stress. They’ve already lost you. You wouldn’t want them to lose each other as well.

3. You can set up a trust and/or provide other funding. Unlike other personal property such as furniture and jewelry, pets need ongoing care. Housing and food immediately come to mind but don’t forget about grooming and veterinarian care. Take into account your pet’s age and life span when considering funding, keeping in mind that similar to humans, pet medical care costs tend to increase with age.

4. You can provide for someone to love them. Friends and family may offer to look after your pet but good intentions don’t always go as planned. Identify a caregiver that will love your pet and is willing to provide a forever home.

5. You can choose a pet guardian and/or trustee. In the event that friends and/or family are unable or unwilling to adopt your pet, identify a pet guardian (an individual and/or an organization as a back-up) in your estate plan. This person or persons would be responsible for your pet and carrying out your pet care instructions. If you’ve set up a trust, select the trustee and the designated caretaker for the animal(s).

Think about your furry companion and his or her well-being as you are working with your estate planning attorney. Your pets shower you with undying love; don’t leave their care to chance if you should die prematurely.

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The Boston Foundation
75 Arlington Street 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02116
United States
Phone: 1 617-338-1700
Fax: 1 617-338-1605

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