Now that you have finished your estate planning, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You know that your last will and testament will take care of your loved ones after your death, and if an illness or injury incapacitates you before then, your relatives know your wishes regarding your care. But wait – did you remember to plan for Princess’s care after you pass away or need to move to a care facility? You and many other Kansas residents may overlook planning for your beloved pets when you are handling the estate planning for your human loved ones.
Is it possible simply to leave your pets to another family member in your will? Or, if you have no living relatives, what about leaving your estate to your pets? The answers to these questions are yes and no respectively. By law, pets are personal property and cannot own assets. Therefore, you can leave your cat to an heir in your will, but you cannot legally bequeath Princess your home and wealth.
A better choice is to establish a pet trust for your animals. This type of trust can include the following:
- Detailed instructions on how you want someone to care for your pets, including food brand, feeding schedule and veterinary information
- Descriptions of each pet’s personality, grooming schedule and preferred toys
- Your first and second choices on whom you entrust to care for your pets after you pass away
Of course, it is also a good idea to talk to those you wish to take on the guardianship role for your pets before you name them as trustees. He or she should be willing and able to care for your pets, and if possible, it should be someone your pets are already familiar with. A pet trust can give you peace of mind that if your pets outlive you, they will go to a good, loving home.