Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Your Pet and Estate Planning

You may be one of the millions of people who considers their pet to be a part of the family. It is this way of thinking that leads pet owners to spend a combined $60 billion annually on their pets in the United States. There should be no surprise then that people often wish to make arrangements for their pets in estate planning documents so that their pets continue to be cared for even after the death of their human. While most of us cannot leave our pets a fortune (or a mansion as the case may be) we can make sure that they are provided for to the best of our abilities. 

It is important to remember however, in the eye of the law, pets are considered property of an individual like a piece of furniture. Unfortunately, this means that if people pass away without proper estate planning, pets may be left without a home and end up in shelters. Luckily, in Illinois, and most other states, you can make arrangements for your pets in your estate plan to ensure that they are taken care of for the rest of their lives.

There are a few different options when making arrangements for your pet.

·     Will: Allows you to name a caretaker for your pets after you have passed away. You can also bequest a one-time payment of funds to the individual for the pet’s care. This is a common planning technique as it is done in the same document and with similar considerations to naming a guardian for a child.

·      Pet Trust: Recognized by Illinois law, a Pet Trust allows you to name an individual to care for your pet in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. You will choose a trustee who will oversee the assets to be distributed for the pet’s care. This document allows you provide funds over the life of your pet and plan for your pet’s final arrangements. This may be a good option for pets that come with special considerations such as long life-span, breeds that are prone to health issues, or those that need extra care (i.e. horses). Once the pet named in the trust is no longer living, the trust will terminate and any remaining funds will be distributed as you state in the trust.

If you have any questions about preparing a pet-friendly estate plan, please feel free to contact Glick and Trostin, LLC at 312-346-8258. To read more about essential estate planning documents, please click here.

Disclaimer: The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.  Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between any attorney and any other person, group or entity. No representations or warranties whatsoever, express or implied are given as to the accuracy or applicability of the information contained herein.  No one should rely upon the information contained herein as constituting legal advice.  The information may be modified or rendered incorrect by future legislative or judicial developments and may not be applicable to any individual reader's facts and circumstances.

1 comment:

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