You understand that estate planning is important to protect your assets and your loved ones’ inheritance. Like many Illinois residents, your pets are like your family members. However, because pets cannot inherit property, you would not be able to leave money to Fluffy or Rufus in your will. How, then, do you ensure your furry family members are provided for if you die before they do?
A simple answer is to leave your pets to one of your beneficiaries. However, as you may know, bequeathing something precious to you is often more complex than just writing it onto a piece of paper. Your cat may have health issues requiring medication, a special diet and regular veterinarian visits. You may just wish for your dogs to get enough exercise and to only eat a certain brand of organic dog food, not just what is cheapest at the grocery store. Understandably, you may worry that the person taking over the care of your pets will not invest as much time and love into their care as you do, or that they would not have the funds for their special medical and dietary needs.
As the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals points out, a pet trust allows you to address these concerns and ensure someone you trust cares for your pets after your death. You can fund a pet trust and include instructions for the following needs:
- Your choice of food and toys
- Regular veterinary care and medication
- Your wishes for exercise, play, and grooming
- A monetary bonus for the person who ends up caring for your animals
- Your first, second and third choices for potential pet caregivers, as well as your reasons for choosing them
Many pets end up homeless if their owners die without having made provisions for their care. If you address this possibility with a pet trust, you can avoid a tragedy occurring to your beloved pets.