Pet trusts and other ways to take care of pets after an owner passes away are one of the latest trends in estate planning. Estate planning with pets in mind has grown as Americans increasingly view their pets as loved ones on nearly the same, if not equal, basis as other family members.
Recently, the National Law Review offered some advice on steps people can take to plan for their own pets in "Caring for Pets As Part of Your Estate Plan." The advice includes:
If you do not want to get a full pet trust, you can always appoint someone to act as power of attorney for your pet. Essentially this makes the person the pet's guardian. You should be certain to leave detailed instructions about how to care for your pet in your estate plan.
It is a good idea to carry information about your pets with you in a wallet or purse. That way if something happens to you, someone will see the information and hopefully see that your pet is taken care of.
Make sure that access to information about your pet's medical history and veterinarian is easy for your proposed caretaker to get.
Consider placing a notice that you have a pet on your door. That way people will know to look out for them should they enter your home to check on you.
If you would like something more extensive for your pet, then consider a pet trust. These detailed documents can be obtained from estate planning attorneys.
Reference: National Law Review (April 21, 2016) "Caring for Pets As Part of Your Estate Plan."