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3 questions about including your pet in your estate plan

Dogs, cats and other pets make your life more exciting and special. You likely consider them part of the family. Along with the emotional connection you have with your pet, the law considers him or her to be personal property, according to Forbes. Both of these are good reasons to include your pet in your estate plan. Your will or trust can secure a stable and loving future for your beloved pet. 

This can be a confusing concept to navigate. There are a lot of questions about pets in relation to estate plans. Below are answers to three questions you might have about this. 

1. How much money do I leave?

If you decide to leave your pet to a trusted person, you might want to consider giving him or her some funds to cover caring for your pet. Draw up an annual budget for your pet, including any food and vet visits. You might want to factor in future medical care as your pet grows older, as well as potential medication, grooming or boarding. 

2. Who do I choose?

Think about who you would want to care for your pet when you pass away. Is it your children, siblings or a close friend? Before finalizing this decision, make sure you have a conversation with this person about her or his interest and ability to take care of your cat or dog. Otherwise, you might want to leave your pet to a charitable organization. 

3. Do I use a will or trust?

Determining care for your pet as part of your will is generally simple and inexpensive. If you want more control, you might consider setting up a separate pet trust. A trust allows you to set funds aside with very specific rules. When setting up a trust, you will choose a trustee to handle the money and ensure it is used only for its intended purpose of caring for your pet. 

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