Estate planning for your pet may never enter your mind if expect to outlive your fine furry friend. The perception that it is not necessary will be bolstered if you have family members that would step in if something happens.
This is understandable, but the situation can be very different for senior citizens. Many elders experience a sense of loneliness when they lose their spouses and some of their friends and relatives.
When you mix in the fact that retired people do not interact with coworkers, you can see that companionship can make a world of difference. A pet is not going to replace a beloved human, but pet ownership can be quite beneficial on a number of different levels.
In addition to the companionship, a pet can provide a renewed sense of purpose because the owner will suddenly have a big responsibility. If the pet is a dog, walks will be necessary if the owner is capable, and this is a motivation to get regular exercise.
When you have a dog as a senior citizen, it will definitely let you know if there are any unusual noises outside of the door, so there is a security benefit. All of the positives can contribute to an overall sense of contentment and well-being.
Of course, longevity is going to be a source of concern for senior citizens, and this is why pet planning is important for some people.
Technically, you could ask someone to take care of your pet if you die first and leave the individual money in a will. However, from a legal perspective, the caretaker would not be compelled to use the inheritance to satisfy the needs of the pet.
A pet trust is a far better solution, and they are now recognized in all 50 states. When you establish and fund the trust, you name a trustee to act as the administrator after your passing.
This can be someone you know personally, and trust companies and the trust departments of banks provide trustee services for a fee. The trustee does not necessarily have to be the individual that will act as the pet’s caretaker if you die first.
They would be legally compelled to make sure that the pet is cared for in accordance with your wishes if you do in fact predecease the animal. You can leave very specific instructions with regard to feeding, walk schedules, treats, etc.
After the death of the pet, any remainder that is left in the trust would be transferred to a successor beneficiary that you name in the trust declaration.
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Pet planning can be part of the equation, but there are many other details to attend to when you are planning your estate. There are different approaches that can be taken, and the optimal course of action will depend upon the circumstances.
When you choose our firm, we will put you at ease and have a discussion so we can gain an understanding of your life situation and your legacy goals. We will explain your options and provide recommendations so you can make fully informed decisions.
At the end of the process, you will come away with a custom crafted plan that ideally suits your needs. If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation at our Memphis, TN estate planning office if you call us at 901-763-2500 or 866-997-6325 or fax us at (901) 763-2525.
You can alternately send us a message through our contact page to request a consultation appointment, and if you reach out electronically, you can expect to receive a swift response.