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How to make sure your pets are taken care of after your death

When it comes to addressing the needs of a beloved pet after the death or incapacitation of the pet’s owner, Hollywood has it a bit wrong. In many movies and television shows, pet owners leave their entire estates to their furry family members, thus complicating the plot. It is true that things would get complicated if you tried to leave your fortune to your dog or cat in your will, since pets are considered property and cannot legally own an estate. However, at the law offices of Lonneman & McMahan PLLC, we know how you and other Kentucky residents can make sure your pets are cared for if you die before them.

It can be easy to assume that one of your family members will assume responsibility for your pets if you die or need to move to a care facility that does not allow pets. However, this is an unsafe assumption. There are many reasons your relatives might not take your pet into their home. They might have allergies or not like animals. Everyone might assume someone else is taking on the responsibility. They might have other pets that do not get along with yours, or have too much on their plates already. For these reasons and more, countless pets end up abandoned or taken to shelters when their owners die, instead of being cared for by someone they know and trust.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that you can create a pet trust to give you peace of mind. In a pet trust, you can name one or two trustees who have agreed to care for your pet after your death or incapacitation. You can fund the trust and include instructions for your pet’s care, such as your pet’s preferred food brands, feeding and play schedules and veterinarian information. If you wish, you can also include a monetary reward for the person who takes on the role of caregiver for your pet.

For more information on providing for your loved ones, visit our estate planning page.

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