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  • Writer's pictureAleezeh Hasan

Don't forget about your furry family members while estate planning.

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

When someone asks you the question of who you consider to be closest with in life you might find yourself thinking about your spouse, your children, your friends and your extended family.

While all of these people are your close connections, it is also important to remember those that aren’t quite human. Our pets can be our closest friends and considered members of our family. As life moves forward and we begin planning on who to include in our will and estate, we shouldn’t forget about the animals that have consistently brought us love and companionship during every moment.

Arranging how to divide your assets can be intimidating as you consider who your heirs are and what role they hold in your life. These people are likely able to voice their opinions and input while you go through the process of planning your estate and drafting a will. Meanwhile, our animal friends do not always have that ability.

To ensure that your pet will be taken care of after you pass, it is critical to arrange for a caretaker. For most this would likely be an immediate family member, but you should also consider having a backup option in case that person is also deceased.

Including a statement in your will that clarifies who your pet’s caretaker and backup caretaker will be after you pass or are not well enough to take care of them, is a simple task that can bring ease to you and your family’s minds.

It is important to pick someone that you trust and that your pet feels safe around. Introducing a complete stranger to your pet after you are permanently gone might negatively impact their mood. It is also vital to ensure that the new owner of your pet will be responsible.

When specifying who the pet will go to, you should also consider giving them a sum of money that is meant to go towards expenses relating to the pet. These could include pet food, toys, beds and pet sitters. Having a responsible person whom you trust taking care of your pet will ensure that they will spend the cash in the right place.

The process of planning for after death is important and through all the stress of figuring out where your assets will go, you will need to keep your furry friends in mind while making these plans. Making the plans in the proper way could be done best with the aid of an experienced attorney.

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