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Including Pets in Estate Planning

As a responsible pet owner, you will want to protect and care for your furry friend in every way possible, even after you are gone.  Even though your pet’s lifespan is likely shorter than yours, Fido may still outlive you and you will want to ensure that everything possible has been put in place to take care of him after you pass away.

Pet owners need to consider how their pets will be cared for once they are no longer around to do so.  Making arrangements for your pet’s care with another animal lover who is able and willing to take your pet is an important part of your estate planning.  Without this pre-planning, your beloved pet could end up in the care of someone who is not suited to care for his or her needs after you are gone.  Even worse, your pet could be euthanized or sent to a shelter where the chance of being adopted by a new family isn’t guaranteed.

So what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to your furry friend?  The most important thing to put in place is to include your pet in your will.  While you can’t leave any part of your estate to your pet, you can certainly make arrangements for your pet’s care with another animal lover like a friend or family member.  If a friend or relative is willing to take your pet after you pass away, you can leave a sum of money as a gift for that person from your estate to pay for your pet’s care, food and veterinary bills. 

If there is no one who is willing or able to take care of your pet and you are concerned about your furry friend’s future after your death, you may want to consider an insurance policy to fund your trust.  This will provide immediate and continued care and support for your pet after you are gone. 

Another thing to consider is how your pet will grieve once you are gone.  Leaving detailed information for the person you designate as your pet’s caregiver about your pet’s usual routine, favorite toys, food and activities can help to minimize your pet’s grief and provide a smoother transition into the new living situation.

As an animal lover, you may also want to consider designating a charitable gift in your will to the local SPCA, humane society or another animal-welfare organization of your choice.

For most pet owners, pets are yet another reason to make sure that your estate planning is done well in advance.  Pet owners are advised to communicate their pet’s care plan with friends and family before the inevitable happens.

At Fingeret Law, our Estate Planning Attorneys in Pittsburgh will work with you to develop your estate plan including details about who will care for your pet and how your pet’s care will be funded after you are gone.

To discuss your specific needs and to find out how our estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh can help you to make arrangements for the future care of your pet, please call Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.

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