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How to include pets in estate planning

Many senior citizens receive love and companionship from dogs, cats and all kinds of critters. There is always the possibility the pet will outlive the owner, and Time recommends including animals in wills

When you sit down with a lawyer to discuss your estate plan, you should absolutely mention you have a pet. An attorney will make sure to include a provision stating what will happen to the animal upon your death. You do not want your beloved furry friend to go out onto the street, so plan accordingly. 

Talk with family members about who gets the pet

There is no reason to act secretive when you write a will. In fact, you should remain open and honest with everyone you want to include. This is especially important when you want to leave your dog or cat to someone.

Most everybody loves animals, but not everyone has the resources to care for a pet. As an example, you may want to leave your dog with your son, but your son worries he does not have the funds necessary to pay for food and health care. This knowledge allows you to make other arrangements for your dog, or you can decide to leave extra money to your son to help with all the extra expenses. 

Create a pet trust

Another legal option is to create a pet trust. There are more complexities with a pet trust, and it may be more expensive to create. However, it can be a good option if you want total peace of mind your pet has someone to look after it. 

In this trust, you state which pets you want covered, name a caretaker, leave a specified amount of money to go toward pet-related expenses and describe what specific type of care the animal needs. In the event the person does not abide by the terms of the trust, the state can sue that person. 

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