How can you incorporate your pets into your estate plan?
Your beloved Fido or Fluffy might be the light of your life. If this is the case, it probably scares you to think about what will happen to your pet or pets after you become incapacitated or die. But, you do not have to live in fear. There are various ways to include your pets in your estate plan and provide for them even when you are no longer physically capable of doing so.
The first thing you should do is start thinking about your pet's routine. What and when do they eat? How are they exercised? Do they take any medications? Write all of this information down so that it can be accessed by any caretaker that may take over for you in the future. You should then choose a caretaker. This should be someone who you see frequently that will be able to decide if you need help caring for your pets in the time before becoming completely incapacitated. You should then plan for complete incapacity using a Durable Power of Attorney. This document will allow you to choose an agent and give that person the authority to care for your pet and to pay any bills relating to your pet's care.
After you have planned for incapacity, you should start to contemplate the type of life you would like for your pet after you die. Once you decide what your wishes are, you can formalize them in a number of ways, the first being a provision in your will. In your will you can appoint a caretaker for your animal and leave detailed instructions relating to his or her care. The same goals can be accomplished using a pet trust. A pet trust is a document that allows you to nominate a trustee that will see to the care of your pets. It can also allow you to leave any remaining money to another beneficiary.
If you are concerned about what will happen to your pet if you are become unable to care for them, you should talk to an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, and Troy, Michigan estate planning attorney Andrew Byers for a consultation today.