There are many different items that people need to consider and make decisions about when they are setting up an estate plan. After all, our estate plans contain the documents and instructions we leave behind up our death in order to make sure that our loved ones are provided for when we are gone.


For many people, their pets are also considered one of those loved ones that we want to make arrangements for. Today, many people include arrangements for their pets in their estate plans. This is especially important if there is a possibility that your furry loved one will outlive you. Your estate planning attorney can discuss specific plans that will be appropriate for your particular situation. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview.  


Why Estate Planning for Pets Is Important

When a person who has a pet becomes incapacitated or dies, it is not uncommon for that pet to end up in an animal shelter. In fact, according to national statistics, there are approximately 500,000 pets that end up in animal shelters each year because their owner has become too ill or have passed away.


Even more surprising is how these pets end up in the shelter. In the majority of these cases, it is the family or friends of the pet owner who end up taking the pet and surrendering it. This is not done out of cruelty or indifference for the animal. It is often done because the person who brings the pet to the shelter does not have the room or the finances to care for the pet. They may have an allergy or someone in their family may be allergic to the pet. Whatever the reason, the sad fact is that the pet, who has lost its owner, now sits alone in a shelter.


What pet owner would not be heartbroken to think of this sad fate for their pet? But it can be avoided by providing for your pet in your estate plan.


An estate planning attorney can assist you in setting up a pet trust to ensure that there are finances available to take care of all of your pet’s needs. Your attorney will help you choose who the right person should be to be the trustee of the pet trust, as well as who the person should be that should take care of your pet. This does not necessarily have to be the same person. In fact, many people choose two different individuals for those roles.


Your attorney will also help you choose secondary choices for those two roles in the event something should happen to your first choices and they are unable or unavailable to take on those roles.


Contact an estate planning law firm St. Peters, Missouri turns to today to discuss how you can incorporate your pet in your estate plans, as well as any other estate planning issues you may need addressed.


Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Legacy Law Center for their knowledge about estate planning.