Estate Planning for Pets

Estate Planning for Pets

In the age of the Covid-19 Pandemic, pet ownership is on the rise. One thing that many fail to consider is what will happen to their pets in the event of an emergency or their death. While pets are legally considered property, they are clearly more dependent on their owners than let’s say your favorite sweater. Therefore, making arrangements for pets in advance of a death or other emergency is advised.

As a pet owner, it is best to talk to friends and family to see if they would be willing to look after your pet in an emergency or even adopt your pet in the event of your death. Knowing who would be willing to take on this responsibility will avoid confusion, which could put your pet’s well-being and life at risk. If friends and family are unwilling to commit, there are organizations that you could appoint to care for your pet in your absence. Usually, this type of commitment from an organization requires an advanced agreement and may also require a donation or fee to be paid.

If a family member or friend on the other hand is willing to accept the responsibility, you can use your Will to leave your pet to an individual in addition to a sum of money with which the beneficiary may use to provide medical and other care to your pet. Further, you can set up what is known as an Honorary Trust to hold funds to finance your pet’s care for so long as your pet lives. This type of Trust can be designed to care for one or more pets and will cease upon the death of the last pet.

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