Even Your Pet Needs An Estate Plan!

Pet obsession is nothing new, but social media has taken our love affair with animals to another level. Today, furry friends are considered more than just part of the family; they are stars on Facebook and Instagram. Some parents post more photos and videos of their animals than their children, and people are spending more money than ever on pet indulgences. 

While fur babies have worked their way into a new place in the hearts, homes, and wallets of their owners, the law sees these relationships quite differently. From a legal perspective, pets are considered tangible personal property, no different than your car or furniture. If your pet is a beloved family member, you want to ensure that he or she will be cared for in the event of your incapacity or death. Without explicitly stated wishes, these furry friends could end up without a home of their own if you die or are unable to care for them. To prevent this tragic outcome, include your pet in your estate plan. Here are three important issues to consider: 

1. Who will get ownership of your pet?

Pets are property and not people. Because of this legal distinction, an agent must be named in your estate plan to take ownership of your pet when you are gone. Choose someone you know would give your furry friend the attention and love you give them now. In absence of a legally enforceable document stating your wishes, your pet could suffer the fate of many when their owners pass on: an animal shelter.

 2. How will that person provide for your pet?

Pets require food, medical care, and yes, toys! These costs can be significant if your pet has a health condition or is aging. You do not want these costs to be a burden on the caregiver you have selected to take care of your fur baby. Fortunately, money can be set aside in your estate plan, earmarked for your pet to ensure they have everything they need to live a happy, comfortable life. 

3. How will your pet be cared for?

You may want to consider leaving written instructions on how your pet should be cared for, as well as financial incentives for your pet’s caregiver to ensure they carry out your wishes. This is especially important if your pet has any health conditions, is aging, or is an exotic animal. Detailed instructions (and the money to carry them out) will ensure your pet’s new guardian can provide the same quality of care you provide now.

At the Law Office of Laura Cowan, we don’t just draft documents. We ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Peace of Mind Planning Session to get you more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make the best choices for the people you love. It’s easy to schedule – simply click HERE to book your session online. We’ll meet via Zoom, so you can get your affairs in order from the comfort and safety of your own home. Mention this article and we will waive the regular $450 session fee. 

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The Law Office of Laura E. Cowan, PLLC

Attorney Laura Cowan’s estate planning practice focuses on helping individuals and families make important decisions today to avoid unnecessary pain and conflict tomorrow.

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