Naperville Trusts Attorney on Providing for Your Pet in Your Estate Plan
For some people, their dog, cat, bird, horse, or other animal is more than a pet, it is a family member. Because of this, they may worry about who will care for their pet if they die before the animal does. This is especially true if their pet requires specialized care because it has medical issues or other specific needs. If you have pets, there are many ways you can include provisions for your furry friends in your estate plans. There are several different estate planning tools that can help you ensure that your companion animals are properly cared for after if you are not able to do so yourself.
Including a Bequest in Your Will
The purpose of a will is to distribute property to heirs after your death. In the eyes of the law, a companion animal is essentially considered property. You cannot leave money or items to a pet in a last will and testament, but you can indicate who you want to care for the pet upon your death. You can also give funds and property to that person with the request that they use it to care for your animal. It is important to include plans for how your pet should be cared for during the interim period between your death and the admission of your will into probate. Providing instructions for your pets in a last will and testament is possible, but it may not be the best way to guarantee that your instructions are followed.
Setting Up a Pet Trust
A pet trust is a legally binding arrangement that provides for the care of a pet after the pet owner passes away. You can set the trust up so that money is distributed to your chosen caretaker with directions for how that money should be used to care for your pet. Unlike directions for pet care in a will, directions in a trust are legally enforceable. Furthermore, a trust avoids probate—the legal process during which a will is proved to be valid. There will be less delay if you use a pet trust instead of a will to provide for your animal’s future care. Another major benefit of a pet trust is that it allows you to establish a caretaking plan that can take effect if you become incapacitated while you are still living.
Contact a Naperville Pet Trust Lawyer
Establishing a pet trust will require you to address a number of details, all of which could be important in ensuring that the trust is valid and enforceable. For help creating such a trust or for other estate planning needs, contact the skilled DuPage County estate planning attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm. Call our office at 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation today.