By Law Clerk Emily Sexton
Our furry, four-legged companions quickly become a part of our family. In some cases, our pets play a significant role in our schedules, where we live, and sometimes even who we marry.
According to the latest figures, over 50% of households own a pet. Unless you include them in your estate plan, your beloved Boxer will face an uncertain future if something were to happen to you.
Many states, including Michigan, allow families to create pet trusts as a part of their estate plan. A pet trust can be for one or more animal beneficiaries. The trust can exist until the last animal named as a beneficiary passes away. You can name a list of individuals, in order of succession, that you believe would best take care of your pet(s). As the primary caregiver, this person has to be someone you trust—possibly a close family member who your pet already knows and who loves it as much as you do.
If your pet passes away before you, the pet trust is no longer valid. If your pet passes away after you have passed, you can designate a charity or individual to receive the remaining funds in the pet trust.
Do the math. Make sure you figure out what you spend on your pet in a year, including veterinary bills or any new expenses your caregiver might incur. Multiply this by life expectancy, and you have a good idea of what funds you need to earmark for your pet(s).
Our pets are an integral part of our families and our every day lives. It is important to make sure we know who will take care of them and how they will take care of them. A pet trust is a simple way to plan for your beloved animal’s future, ensuring they always get the care they need—even when you’re not around to provide it.
Please contact the Thacker Sleight Estate Planning team today to include your pets in your estate plan.