When most people make out a will, they are thinking about how real estate, money, and various other assets will be transferred to others upon their death. However, you may be like more and more people and also want to make sure your pets are included in your will. Though pets are technically considered to be property in the eyes of the law, they are cherished members of your family. Thus, you want to make sure they are provided for upon your passing. If you are wondering which types of requests you can include in your will regarding pets, here are some of the most important.
To ensure your pets are taken care of by those you know and trust, you can name a friend or family member to be a designated caretaker of your pets after you die. Of course, always discuss this with the person you have in mind prior to naming them in your will. Upon your death, the caretaker will receive your pets as a bequest and will assume all the rights and responsibilities that come with pet ownership.
Funding for Pet Care
When speaking to a will attorney, you will learn you cannot leave any part of your estate directly to your pets. However, you are allowed to leave money to the caretaker of your pets to be used specifically to provide for their needs, such as food and medical care.
Shelter or Charitable Organization
If you have no family or friends who can assume ownership of your pets after your death, you can instead designate a specific animal shelter or charitable organization in your will to accept your pets and care for them while they seek to place them in new homes. Should you need to do this, it is recommended you leave a cash bequest to the shelter or organization to cover any related expenses.
Establish a Pet Trust
Finally, you also have the option to establish what is known as a pet trust as part of your will. Legally known as a testamentary trust, it will take effect upon your death. This can provide you with a great deal of peace of mind since having this trust in place will allow courts to monitor and enforce any provisions related to the trust. If you want to make sure your final wishes regarding your pets are upheld, consider this option.
Rather than leave the future of your pets up in the air, discuss these and other options that may be available to you with a will attorney you know and trust.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.