As a Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning Lawyer, I frequently have clients ask about planning for their pets. Sure, there have been many jokes and stories about the dog or cat who inherits a fortune. The truth of the matter is that many people want to ensure that their pet is cared for if they become disabled or pass away. Considering how much like members of the family many pets become, this just makes sense. So, pet trusts and other estate planning tools are becoming more common as means to ensure that a beloved pet is cared for even if you are no longer able to care for the pet yourself.
As a pet owner, you can take effective steps to make sure your pets not only are well cared for, but also that the funds left are used properly. You do not need a complex estate plan to carry out your wishes. Here are just a few ways that you might provide for the care of your pet:
1. Make no specific plans, but leave it up to your personal representative, family, or friends to find the pet a new home after your death.
2. Leave your pet (in a will or a trust) to a specific caregiver that you trust. The caregiver is then responsible for the pet’s care.
3. Along with the pet, leave the caregiver a sum of money to offset their expenses in caring for your pet.
4. Create a trust to benefit the caregiver, with specific instructions on how to provide funds for the pet’s care.
5. Create a trust for the pet, along with instructions for overseeing the pet’s care, by naming a trustee or possibly a panel of people to care for the pet.
These are just a few examples of ways that we assist clients in planning to care for their pets as Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning Lawyers.