If you’re like most pet owners in America, your pets are your family members. And like any of your other beloved family members, you’d want your pets to be taken care of after your death. As we discussed a few weeks ago, setting up a trust for your furry family members can greatly benefit your pets and those you’ve entrusted to their care. It’s also important to include your pets in your will, so your heirs or someone else you want to care for them won’t have any problems following through with your wishes.
Estate planning laws allow for the care and ownership of pets to be included in Florida wills. However, many people may not think about what could happen to their pets after their death; it might be easy to assume that someone else in the family would step in and take care of the pets. Sadly, many animal shelter workers have seen pets that come in after their owners have passed away leaving no instructions for their pets’ care. These pets aren’t often reunited with family members of the deceased, and can be euthanized if a proper home isn’t found for them.
You can see the importance of making sure your beloved pets are included in your will. This can also help to prevent a will contest, if different family members want to take over the care of the pet. It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with the family members you’d like to take over the care for your pets, to ensure there are no misunderstandings and that everyone is in agreement for the animals’ best interests. Verbal and written instructions can be given to trusted family members, but it’s best to include plans for your pets in your formal will.
Source: Akron Legal News, “Estate plans don’t often account for pets,” Sarah Jane Kyle, May 8, 2013