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Does Your Estate Plan Include Your Pets?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. July 19, 2019

When you start estate planning, you may focus on creating documents, such as a will and a health care advanced directive, that meet Illinois state law requirements. You may not immediately think about your pets. However, it is essential to make plans for their care after you pass away. When you are drafting your will and other estate planning documents, you may take steps to ensure your beloved pets will have the care they need even if you are not able to provide it.

According to U.S. News and World Report, you may be able to provide for your pet directly in your will in a way that is similar to disbursing an asset. For example, you may name the person you want to receive the pet and make a financial distribution to that person to cover expenses. Before you create a will that names a specific caretaker, it is essential to make sure that person agrees to the responsibility.

Another possible way to add your pet into your estate plan is to create a special trust. Crafting a legal and comprehensive pet trust may be a complicated process, but it may provide unique benefits. A trust may allow you to create specific instructions for the care of your pet. For example, you could use a trust to name a caregiver and a secondary choice (in case the primary caregiver is unavailable). You may also provide instructions on the standard of living you desire for your pets. The documentation must include information on the property that will provide the financial funds for the trust.

While this information on estate planning for pets may provide helpful tips, it is not intended to provide legal advice.