The Finance Blogger


Pet Estate Planning

Most people will just make sure that one of their relatives will take over the care and feeding of a pet that is left behind when someone passes away. Sure it might be a bit of an inconvenience, but then most people love pets. If it is a pet that is from a close relative there usually is no problem. But what do you do when there are no relatives, or friends, to look after your pet? This is where pet estate planning can become a reality. Many people will make arrangements in advance for their pets to ensure that they are looked after while the owner is sick or can no longer look after them.

Notable Pet Estate Planning Examples

There have been some notable cases were people have left their entire estate in the millions to their pets with explicit instructions of how they will be looked after, where they will live and how they will be fed. Even going to the extent of dictating where they will be buried. Pet estate planning is serious business for these people and they want to make sure that their pets will be looked after and then buried properly when the time comes. They will even ensure that their estate is responsible to maintain the grave site after they are gone.

While it may seem odd, pet estate planning is no different from what it would be for a dependent member of the family. In fact many people consider their pets as members of the family and some occupy better positions than some of the humans in the family. How does one handle these situations and what do you need to do to make sure that your pet is looked after properly.

Setting up an Estate for Your Pet

The answer is for most lawyers is to approach this question in the same manner that you would a dependent child. In other words, you need to make sure that there is a guardian who will responsible for the estate to ensure adequate funds are available, to look after the care and feeding as well as housing as dictated in the will and finally to look after the pets remains and have them buried or dealt with in the manner that the estate laid out. Pretty simple really!

The difficult part will be finding someone to be the guardian that you trust to look after your pet and to be responsible as far as the estate is concerned. Safeguards need to be put in place to make sure that these people meet their obligations as stated in the will. After all the pet is unable to defend themselves and must rely on the good will, honesty and integrity of the guardian to fulfill the wishes of the deceased.

Common Sense Approach to Pet Estates

For most people, the common sense approach is to have one of the family members look after your pet and to provide a monthly amount of money that would be suitable for the care, feeding and housing of your pet. This also should be someone you trust to really give your pet a loving home. The estate where the funds are located to pay this monthly fee could be looked after by an independent trustee so that there is separation between guardian and trustee.

Once the pet passes away, instructions from the will need to be clear about what is to be done with the remainder of the estate. Your lawyer will remind you of this need and ensure that the appropriate wording is in place to instruct your executors of what is to be done once your pet has also passed away.

That is our thoughts on the matter, however we would appreciate hearing from readers regarding your thoughts.

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