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How to include a pet in an estate plan

by | Mar 8, 2019 | Wills & Trusts

People love their animals, which is why so many stories pop up of rich people who have passed away leaving behind millions of dollars to their dog or cat. Most people just want to make sure someone will look after their pet if they pass away.

Typically, ownership of a pet will go to the spouse of the deceased. However, there may be circumstances where no one is available to take care of the animal. In this circumstance, the animal would go to Animal Control and face adoption or euthanasia. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure someone looks after your pet upon your passing, and it all comes down to what you put in your estate plan.

Create a trust

In 2001, Nevada legislators put into law that residents could create trusts for their animals. In this document, you can designate someone to look after your dog or cat. You will want to speak to this person first to make sure he or she is capable of caring for an animal. You need to get this designation in writing.

Set aside a reasonable amount of money

One reason a loved one may not want to take on the responsibility is because of the cost of caring for an animal. That is why it is prudent to set aside money in the trust for the designated new owner that only goes toward pet-related expenses. You can state in the trust that if the animal dies from natural causes, then the person can retain any money left in the trust for purposes related to the animal. It is vital to maintain open communication lines with your loved ones, so you can be confident someone will care for your pet.