Including a Pet in an Estate Plan
Most Americans have at least one pet, and most who do consider their pet to be part of their family. Unfortunately, when making an estate plan, many of those people forget about including that pet in their Estate Plan; sometimes, it's because they don't realize that such a thing can be an integral part of any estate plan. Estate planners in Atlanta and elsewhere have quite a few ways to help clients take care of their pets after they're gone; they just have to let more people know that, just as pets are an important part of your family, they should also be a major part of your estate plan.
In many cases, the person working on their estate plan will just assume that someone in the family will just take the pet, but that assumption is often not realistic. A better idea would be to discuss the particulars with a professional estate planner, who can help create a plan that includes accounting for the long-term happiness and care for your furry family member. This can range from simply including what you want to happen to your pet in the will to setting up a trust for the animal, that sets up and funds your intention.
A pet trust is actually a good idea. You can estimate the amount things such as food, vet bills, bedding and toys might cost for the life of your pet. In some cases, pet owners may want to leave a small payment for the person who will eventually care for your pet.
And that brings us to one of the most important things to do when estate planning for your pet comes with choosing a guardian, who will care for your pet in the event you die or become incapacitated. You really shouldn't assume, though; discuss the situation with this person in advance, and make sure they're willing to take on the responsibility when the time comes. You also want to leave it with someone who knows how to take care of your pet properly. If there is no one in mind who can fill this need, contact your local humane society because some of them have programs in place to adopt your pet into a loving home after you die or become incapacitated. However, don't wait; you usually have to enroll in such programs in advance. An estate planning lawyer may already know who has these types of services, so talk it over with him.