Pets and Wills

Many of us who have pets consider them to be an extension of our family.  In many cases, our pets are our best friends, our confidants, our support, and our hearts.  We love them as if they were our children.  For many of us, we consider them to actually be our children.  We would do anything for our pets to ensure their happiness and their well-being.  Did you know, however, that under the law, in most states, our pets are considered to be property, assets that get divided up with the same consideration as any of our other assets?

  • Without a written plan, we are in essence leaving it up to the state and others to decide what happens to our pets if we pass away before they do. 
  • It is important for us to take the time to make sure our pets are cared for by choosing a guardian, beneficiary, or organization, to care for them after our passing.
  • Not only is it important for us to choose a beneficiary or organization, but it’s also equally as important for us to have a conversation with the person or organization about where we would like our pets to go and make sure they are fully on board with caring for our pet.
  • Your pet should be gifted to someone you absolutely trust to carry out your wishes.  
    • Select someone who will provide for your pets and love them as much as you would.  
  • After all, the person or organization you entrust will become your pet’s new owner and will be responsible for providing love, food, shelter, and vet care.
  • Since pets are considered to be property, they can’t legally be left an inheritance in your Will. 
    • However, you can choose to leave money for their care with the person or organization that you have chosen to care for them after your passing. 
    • You can designate in your Will specific funds or property be used for the care of your pet.

Most people know the value of having a Last Will and Testament, however, about 7 out of 10 Americans don’t have an estate plan.  There are several reasons this may be the case. 

1) We typically don’t like to think about death, so we put off getting an estate plan.

2) Getting an estate plan in place typically can be costly.

 3) Many people just don’t know where to start. 

For those of us that do have a Will, we may not have updated it in many years, or maybe we have moved out of the state from where the initial Will was created, making the Will potentially no longer valid.  Many times, even if there is a Will in place, the care of our pets after our passing may have been an oversight and not included.

Think about it… we work hard all our lives to do the best we can to provide for our families including our pets.  We strive to live in neighborhoods that we love, maybe purchase a home, and perhaps build businesses.  What happens to everything we work so hard for should we pass away unexpectedly?  Do we say to our families, “Good Luck, figure it out on your own?  I’m outta here!”  NO! I am sure we all want to do all we can, to do our best to make sure we take care of our families long after we are no longer here, and the care of our pets is no exception.  I have seen families torn apart, children placed in state care, and pets placed in shelters or worse because there was no plan in place.

Getting a Last Will & Testament and other estate planning documents in place doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  Please feel free to reach out to me for a simple and affordable option.  I’d love to be a resource.  Don’t delay, let’s get our last love letter to your family in place today!

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