Sue Stevens, a financial planner and founder of Stevens Wealth Management, discusses estate planning for pets in her book, “Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is.” In the book, Stevens lays out four steps that anyone can take to protect their pet after they’re gone.
First, Stevens suggests that you choose a “pet guardian” and name this person in a trust. This should be the person that you want to care for your pets. In addition, make sure to name at least one back-up guardian in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.
Second, decide how much money you want to set aside in a trust for your pet’s care. According to an American Pet Products Association survey, dogs generally cost around $1,400 per year while cats can cost approximately $1,000 per year. One of the best ways to ensure your pet is provided for is to set up a trust for your pet. The trustee of the pet trust does not have to be the same person that you choose as the pet’s caregiver (guardian).
Third, make sure to include provisions in your trust which provide for pet care. Specifically, the trust should include language that details how the money is to be spent (i.e. food, veterinary care, etc). Also, the trust should include a provision for interim care until your pet can be placed in a permanent home. An estate planning attorney can help you draft an effective trust for this purpose.
Lastly, leave written instructions for your pet’s caregiver (guardian). This information should include your pet’s medical record, feeding instructions, a list of favorite toys, and even the names of your pet’s human and furry friends. Please click here for the full article.
If you would like more information about how to plan for your dog or cat’s care after your passing, please contact our experienced Silicon Valley estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.