Special Plans For Your Special Pet
Most people consider their pets to be family members, but you may worry about how your pet will be cared for after your death. The way society views pets have changed over the years and there are estate provisions that do a good job of making sure your pet is cared for after your death. To find out more about how to deal with your pet with estate plans, read more of this post.
How Wills Address Pets
In most cases, wills don't address pets but do mention animals. Livestock, racing horses, and other animals have always been considered valuable property to be passed down in a will. You can still name your pet as an inheritance if you want it to go to a loved one. While you cannot leave property or assets to your pet, if you want to set aside some funds for veterinary expenses, food, and other needs, then you can leave money to a named beneficiary as well.
Leaving money that is to be used for a certain purpose is known as a condition. However, in some cases, conditions can invalidate the will and may be illegal in some states. For this reason, you will need to carefully select a trustworthy beneficiary and trust that they will use the funds appropriately.
Using Trusts to Address Pets
A trust can be used alongside a will but trusts are more powerful. With a trust, you can have conditions on your inheritances. That means you can leave your dog to your aunt and a sum of money can be provided for that purpose. Unlike with a will, trust provisions have to be followed and that includes conditions. If your aunt fails to keep up with how the funds for your dog are being used, she can be subject to legal actions. Trusts have the added advantage of stipulating how often and how much money is provided for the care of a pet. Take care to let the beneficiary know about your plans with your pet and get their agreement before making the provision.
Using a Special Pet Trust
Finally, you can even have a trust that centers around your pet. Pet trusts can address almost any aspect of pet ownership you can imagine and many you might not have thought of before. Pet owners can name a beneficiary and a few back-up beneficiaries if something happens to them. The trust can be as detailed or as general as you like. It should be mentioned that neither a trust or a pet trust has to go through probate, so the provisions can have an immediate effect and be valid as soon as the death certificate is ready.
To find out more about what plan works best for your pet, speak to an estate-planning lawyer.