J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Do you have an estate plan for your pet?

Humans outlive their pets. It's almost always true. However, pet owners will tell you that they have had several pets over their lifetime, so in theory, couldn't a dog outlive their owner? Sadly, 500,000 pets are euthanized every year due to an unfortunate situation in which there is no-one left to care for them after their owner dies unexpectedly, or suffers a life-changing illness or injury.

Ask any pet owner and they will tell you how important their pets are. They will tell you that their pets are like family. So why would you leave them out of your estate plan? If you can have an arrangement for a family member or friend to vouch for your pet if you were to unexpectedly die or be unable to care for them, it can be the only saving grace a beloved pet has after losing their owner. It's entirely acceptable to write pets into your estate plan in hopes of securing them a happy life in case of a worst-case scenario for their owner.

If you don't have a person or family member in mind who would care for your pet, there are ways to arrange for an animal sanctuary to take over. Of course, this would require financial planning, but it is entirely possible to plan. Figure spending what you do every month on your pet and them multiply it by their likely life span, plus a little extra. These arrangements are sometimes known as pet trusts.

Estate planning will likely require more components than just your pet. But don't forget them if they are important to you. You wouldn't leave out your children or other important people in your life. Ask any pet owner and they would agree, pet trusts are a great idea. Your furry friends will thank you.

Source: clickorlando.com, "Pet planning: What happens to your animals if something happens to you?," Adriana Iwasinski, May 14, 2018

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