Planning for the care of your beloved pets if you die before them is not as simple as it is in the movies, where wealthy pet owners often leave their fortunes to their furry family members. However, including your pets in your estate planning does not need to be complex, either. A pet trust should be able to cover the needs of pet lovers in North Dakota.
The law considers pets to be property, so yours can’t inherit an estate. You could simply leave Whiskers or Patches to one of your relatives in your will, but a pet trust gives you more flexibility and options for stating your precise wishes as to your pet’s continued well-being.
What to include in your pet trust
Like other trusts, you would fund your pet trust and add specific instructions regarding your pet’s care and health. These might include the following:
- Your dog’s preferred walking times and the dog parks where he likes to play
- Your pets’ veterinarian, including checkup schedules and contact information
- Instructions on medication and vitamins your pets take
- Recommendations on toys and comfort items, as well as descriptions of each pet’s personality type
- A list of food brands and your pets’ feeding schedule
You would also want to name a preferred guardian for your animals.
Approaching a potential pet guardian
Before naming a person as the trustee of your pet’s care, you will want to be sure that he or she is willing and able to take on the responsibility. Because situations change, it is a good idea to have a backup choice or two. Preferably, these would be loved ones your pets already know and like. You may even include a monetary incentive in your trust to compensate the new guardian for his or her time and care.
It is difficult to think about passing away before your pets. A pet trust can give you the peace of mind knowing that you have prepared for the possibility.