Planning for Four-Legged Family Members

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Planning for Four-legged Family Members By: Taylor R. White, Estate Planning Coordinator

We often consider our pets more than just furry friends, but our four-legged family members. While we have many important people in our busy lives, our pets only have us. It’s imperative to consider how to provide for them in the event of unforeseen circumstances through your estate planning- just as you would for your human family members.

The Who, What and Where- Be sure to consider who will ultimately care for your pets and how they will be cared for. Remember, you have options- this person could be a close family member, friend or professional. It is essential to discuss your wishes with the chosen caretaker to ensure they agree to the responsibility.

Think it through- “An idea without a plan is just a wish.” Delve deeper into the specifics of your pets’ needs and ensure that someone has access to your home, the authorization to care for your pets in both the short and long term, and the necessary funds to do so.

Make it official- Informal arrangements are generally not legally enforceable. Consider formally and legally documenting your plan through a Will or Trust. These tools provide direction for how your personal property should be handled upon your death.

Oftentimes, the goal of estate planning is to care for our family. Be sure that your wishes for all of your loved ones are documented within your thorough and comprehensive plan.