On July 6, 2016

Pets can be wonderful companions and may even be considered to be members of the family for some people. Although pets are technically considered to be ‘property’ in the realm of estate planning, there are a number of ways that you can protect and ensure future care of your pets in your estate plan.

How to Include Your Pets in Your Estate Plan & What to Consider When Doing So

How to Include Your Pets in Your Estate Plan

How to Include Your Pets in Your Estate Plan

When it comes to including your pet(s) in your estate plan, here are the specific devices that can be used:

  • Your will A will is really the most basic way to plan for pets (as the will can set forth details about all of your property, including your pet). Keep in mind, however, while a will can explain who is to get which pet(s) after you pass away, any instructions provided in the will (regarding your pets) are not legally enforceable. In other words, when it comes to your pet(s), the only legally enforceable aspect of your will is designating a beneficiary to receive your pet(s).
  • A trust for your petPet trusts can provide far more provisions than wills can, and they can be enacted during your life time (and come into play if or when an accident or some other even renders you incapacitated).
  • A pet protection agreement – This is another device that can be used to provide detailed instructions regarding the guardianship, care, etc. for pet(s) in the event of your death or incapacity.

Regardless of which type(s) of devices you put into play, some of the issues that should be detailed in your plans for your pet(s) include (but may not be limited to):

  • The guardian for your pet(s) – Naming second, third, etc. options for guardians is typically a smart idea (in case your top choice is unable to take on this responsibility for any reason).
  • Covering the care-related costs for your pet(s) – Explaining where the funds will come from to cover the expenses for caring for your pet is another important aspect to detail in estate planning for pets. Here, it’s also advisable to make plans for any ‘extra’ or ‘remainder’ funds (i.e., what should be done with the money set aside for your pet but not needed or used for the pet).
  • Other instructions – These can include special care instructions, details about whether pets should be kept together and/or plans for any pets you may get in the future (if those pets are not specifically named or identified in the estate plan).

Contact a Denver Estate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For additional answers and information about estate planning for pets – or any aspect of the estate planning process, contact a trusted Denver estate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

Our attorneys provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them. While this means that we provide personalized attention at every step of the process, it also means that our clients can rely on us to always be competent, caring and professional while providing them with the highest quality estate planning services at affordable rates.

To discuss your estate planning needs and options during an initial consultation, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

Categories: Drafting Wills, Estate Planning, Trusts