Estate Planning & Pets: Making Sure Your Pets Are Cared For

For many individuals, their pets have a huge place in their hearts and it can be all too easy to worry about what will happen to them if you should pass. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can include your pet in your estate plan to ensure their security and care, no matter what. Here, the Maryland estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss how you can include your pet into your estate plan just as you would other assets.

Identify Caregivers for Your Pet and Plan Accordingly

In the early stages of estate planning, communication is key. When considering options for your pet after you pass, find trustworthy caregivers who are willing to care for your pet in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. This does not mean having a quick, casual conversation about the “what if” scenarios, but having serious discussions about their caretaking responsibilities and how that will impact the life of your pet. Once you have established primary caregivers for your pet, create an inclusive will or have your current will adjusted to reflect these changes. This legally binding document outlines your pet’s care in writing. This can give you comfort in knowing that your chosen caregivers are serious about caring for your pet exactly as you would.

Leave Detailed Instructions in Your Will Regarding Pet Care

To make it easier for your pet’s caregiver to do their job well, provide clear instructions and documentation in case of emergency. Planning early on and providing easy access to documents including your vet’s information, caretaking instructions and any other relevant information can help your pet’s caretakers responsibly and effectively care for your pet. 

Having written instructions on pet care in your estate plan gives your beneficiaries one less thing to worry about as they navigate your passing and work through their grief. It may provide a sense of solace and comfort knowing that they are caring for an animal that you loved dearly. This also provides the opportunity for you to contribute financially to your pet’s care. In many revocable trusts, you are able to set aside an amount of money given to your designated caregiver to pay for pet expenses. This will offset the costs they would otherwise incur for food, grooming and other necessary medical expenses.

Consult Maryland Estate Planning Attorneys at Rodier Family Law For Additional Help

It is important to know that your property, including any pets you own, will be handled in accordance with your wishes after your death. While it may sound strange, pets are technically considered an asset of yours, and should have specific instructions for care in the event of your passing. Your pets are likely a huge part of your everyday life, and when you are unable to care for them, making sure they are receiving exceptional care from your beneficiaries is important. For additional help with the estate planning process, contact the Bel Air attorneys at Rodier Family Law today.