When Planning for the Future, Don’t Forget Your Pets

In our blog we often address how estate planning can help you provide for your children or protect your elderly parents or grandparents, but today let’s talk about another member of the family—Today we would like to address how estate planning can help you take care of your pets.

According to this article by Angie Campbell, two-thirds of American households have pets, but approximately 70% of adult Americans do not have a will or other kind of estate planning. This means that if something happens to you, your pets (arguably the most helpless members of your family) are left out in the cold—literally.

Providing for your pets doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive undertaking. The first thing, of course, is to find friends or family willing to serve as loving caretakers of your pets after you are gone. Create a letter of intent listing important information such as the age of your pet, medical history if any, and veterinary contact information. You can make your letter as formal or informal as you like, including as many details about your pet as you think are necessary or helpful.

Taking on extra mouths to feed can sometimes be a financial strain on a household. If you want to go one step further and provide financially for your pets or their caretakers, ask your attorney about creating a pet trust. Making your pets (or their caretakers) a beneficiary of your estate doesn’t have to be a Leona Helmsley size endeavor unless you really want it to be. With the right help, a pet trust can be small and simple, and an ideal way to say a most important thank you to your beloved canine or feline companions.