Do you have a dog, cat, or other non-human member of your family? Do you want to make sure that your non-human family member is protected and provided for should something happen to you that prohibits your from being able to provide for your pet? If you answered yes to these questions you need to include pet planning in your estate plan.
As the name implies, “pet planning” simply refers to including your pet in your overall estate plan. Just as you plan to provide for your spouse, children, or other loved ones in your estate plan, you can plan to provide for your pet. Failing to plan for your pet in your estate plan could have disastrous results. Every year in the United States over half a million dogs and cats are left homeless, or worse, after the death or incapacity of their owner. If you wish to ensure that this does not happen to your pet you can do so easily enough by simply taking the time now to include your pet in your estate plan.
While there are a number of ways in which your pet can be included in your estate plan, creating a pet trust is one of the most common options for several reasons. Unlike provisions in your Last Will and Testament, a pet trust can provide for your pet in the event of your death or incapacity. In addition, a pet trust offers the following advantages:
- Legal transfer of ownership – though you may not think so, your pet is actually your property. Therefore, your pet’s ownership needs to be legally transferred to your chosen caregiver when you die or become incapacitated. A trust can accomplish this.
- Management of funds – you will appoint a Trustee who will manage and distribute the funds you transfer into the trust for the care and maintenance of your pet. This way you can rest assured that funds left for your pet will be used for your pet and nothing else.
- Continued control – trust terms can be used to control just about anything relating to your pet or your pet’s care. Using your trust terms allows you to effectively control your pet’s care long after you are gone or unable to care for your pet yourself, ensuring that your pet will continue to get the same level of care he or she now gets under your care.
If you have additional questions or concerns about pet planning, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
- My Parent/Spouse Shows Early Signs of Dementia. Can We Still Do Medicaid Planning? - July 20, 2015
- What Happens to a Living Trust When One Spouse Dies? - July 13, 2015
- Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Rules - July 7, 2015