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Pet trusts and modern estate planning for Michigan residents

Readers in Oakland County likely already realize that a will is a primary estate planning tool. A will can be the bedrock around which all other estate planning devices revolve. Wills are known for helping estate planners avoid intestacy and carefully designate how property should be distributed to heirs and beneficiaries.

But what about other estate planning tools such as trusts? What about tools that were previously unheard of, but are now becoming more common? Estate planning can certainly become complex with the introduction of new and novel ways to spell out an estate planner's intent, but most of the newest techniques were developed in order to more completely represent an estate planner's wishes. On that front, the pet trust is making headlines.

A pet trust is an estate planning tool that is being used more and more by pet owners who want to ensure that their non-human companions are taken care of in the future. A pet owner will incorporate this kind of trust into an estate plan to make certain that a pet goes to a loving and caring individual, or who is just generally good with animals. In that respect, sometimes when no one else is available, no-kill animal shelters are designated.

While an estate planner may have one person in mind, for example, to take over custody of minor children, maybe a completely different person would be better for the welfare of a pet. Using pet trusts to ensure the future well-being of non-human companions is becoming more and more common, and pet owners may want to look into using this relatively new estate planning device to cover all the bases.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Pet estate planning: It's easier than ever to include your pets in your estate plan," Becky Yerak, May 14, 2012

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