When you are planning your estate you are generally dealing with things that don’t have to be tended to on an ongoing basis. There are some exceptions of course, and these would include entities like businesses, charitable giving instruments, and trusts, but these things don’t need to be taken for a walk, fed daily, or given a bath. If you are planning your estate and you have pets, you have a living, breathing loved one on your hands that needs to be provided for in any eventuality.
One way to make provisions for the care of your pets after you pass away is to name a caretaker in your will and leave this person an inheritance meant to provide them with the means to care for the animal. It is a good idea to name a second choice as well in the event that your chosen caretaker was to pass away before you or be unwilling or unable to tend to the pet when the time comes. You can also empower the executor of your estate to find an alternative caregiver if necessary. Another option is to identify an animal shelter or placement facility and arrange for one of them to take your pet in the event of your death with the understanding that they will be receiving a cash donation from your estate for doing so.
Some states will also allow for a trust to be set up for the care of your pet. You fund the trust adequately and name a caregiver to tend to the needs of the pet and a trustee to make distributions from the trust to cover pet care expenses and make sure that the caretaker is properly caring for the pet. If you create what is called an inter vivos trust it can be used while you are still alive but unable to care for the pet due to incapacity or relocation into a nursing home.
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