Don’t forget about the Furry Members of the Family –
Any pet owner will tell you that the family dog, cat, horse, parrot, or other exotic animal is as much a family member as your own flesh and blood. None pet owners often scoff at these statements, but every dog mom and dog dad feels a special bond with their respective fur babies. Proper estate planning is a key tool in insuring your family will be provided for and your wishes are carried out after you are gone. The same way we worry about our two legged family members, Babnik Law can help you plan for those members of the family with fur, tails, hooves, scales, or feathers.
Making proper and appropriate provisions for a pet will ensure that they do not go neglected after you’re gone. The death of an owner is just as traumatic to a pet as it is to the members of a human family. This doesn’t mean that you need to leave your entire life savings to the family Shiba-Inu so he can live out his days at the local puppy spa or retire with more assets then your typical blue collar working individual, but failing to prepare for what happens to pets in the event that you pass can leaves those beloved members in an indeterminate state.
The inclusion of a Pet Trust provision in your estate plan can eliminate the question of what to do with the family pet after an owner passes away. Properly drafted provision in a trust or will, can provide for instructions and funds for the care of a beloved family pet. These provisions can designate funds for the animal’s care so not to place the burden on a loved one who finds themselves caring for an animal they may not have previously considered supporting. Just like a guardian or conservator is considered for minor children and incapacitated individuals, pet owners should name successor caregivers and consider designated protectors to supervise the caregiver to assure the owners wishes are being carried out. Any attorney or individual hoping to draft these provisions should take into consideration the life expectancy of the pet and the average amount of funds needed to care for the pet over the remaining expected life. For example a horse or parrot will have a much longer life expectancy then say a cat or dog, and pet provision must reflect those expectations to properly meet the goals of the drafter.
Provisions in your Will or Trust should name people or local association who will be responsible for the animal’s future care, and can even provide for how afterlife care for the pet should be handled. The most important factor in drafting these types of provisions is to ensure that the party charged with the duty of caring for Lassie is incentivized to treat the animal in the same manner that the original owner would have cared for them. Babnik Law has drafted numerous provision for its pet loving clients, ensuring that ever step is taken to help your pet maintains the same standard of living it was accustomed to while you were alive, without placing an unneeded burden on friends and family in your absences.
To address your estate planning needs for pets and humans alike, contact Babnik Law to arrange a consultation. From Ann Arbor to Miami we are here to guide you and provide trusted advice for all of your probate, will, trust, pet trust and estate planning needs.