Most Michigan pet owners believe that their pets are members of their family. They provide daily care, ensure that pets receive veterinary care when necessary, take pets on vacation and generally keep their pets as important parts of their lives. Of course, there may come a time when a pet owner can no longer provide needed care to a pet, possibly due to the owner’s incapacitation or death, so including pets in an estate plan is often wise.
One of the biggest decisions a pet owner needs to make when consider future care for a beloved animal is to decide who will take over the pet’s care. It is always important to discuss this matter with possible candidates because some individuals may not have the ability or desire to care for a pet. It is also important that pet owners ensure that someone does not feel pressured to accept the role only to turn the pet over to a shelter — or worse — when the time comes to care for it.
Some other ways to include pet care in estate planning include the following:
- Set aside funds that will go toward future pet needs so that the person who takes over the pet’s care will not have to pay out of pocket.
- Create a pet trust to hold the funds intended for the pet’s care.
- Appoint a trustee to the pet trust to manage the funds and ensure that they are used properly.
If pets are not included when estate planning, the chances of them being placed in shelters or even being euthanized increase considerably. Fortunately, taking planning steps well ahead of time could better ensure that a pet’s care, and life, is not left up to chance. If Michigan pet owners have questions about other ways to include their pets in their planning efforts, they may want to discuss the matter more fully with experienced attorneys.