Earlier this year, reports surfaced of a New York City woman leaving her two cats $300,000 in her will. The money was to go toward the care of her pets, with certain rules in place for how caregivers should look after them. The cats now reside with former home health care workers, and their future care is well-secured.
While most people don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide for their pets’ needs after they pass away, such a large sum likely isn’t necessary. But it is the responsibility of pet owners to make arrangements for the continued care of their animals after they die.
Making sure your pets are properly cared for after you’re gone may require the assistance of an estate attorney. While you may have provisions in your will for pet care, some states only consider bequests to pets as honorary, which means your wishes could be ignored.
Erach F. Screwvala, an estate-planning attorney with Screwvala LLC in New York, outlined to Fox News three avenues that pet owners could take toward ensuring proper pet care after they die. His suggested options are having a beneficiary, creating a pet trust, or arranging for your pet to be placed with an animal care organization.
List A Beneficiary
In your will, designate a person who will inherit your pets. Make sure this is a person who you can trust with your furry friend’s care and upkeep. Your will should include funds to provide for the pets’ care.
Create A Pet Trust
A pet trust gives pet owners more control in specifying how their pets will be cared for after they die. This route may take more effort to set up and is more expensive, but it assures pet owners that their animals will be looked after the precise way they wish. For this to happen, a pet trust requires the owner to leave the designated trustee the proper amount of funding that their pets will need to receive the specified care. This would factor in pet food, grooming, and vet visits.
Find An Animal Care Organization
Some organizations specialize in caring for pets of those who have passed away. However, you must make preparations with the organization while you’re still alive. Each organization has its own rules and conditions that need to be met before placing an animal with them. For that reason, this option may require a bit of research to find the organization that makes the most sense for your situation.
Caring for your pets can be a lifetime commitment, and sometimes, that commitment extends beyond your own life. While you don’t need to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure your pets are properly cared for, you do need to plan ahead. Talk with your estate planner and make sure you have a plan in place for your furry friend to receive the care that they may need.
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