Cats, dogs and other companion animals can contribute significantly to your quality of life and your overall happiness. They also create a responsibility that you may not be able to see through to the end, especially if you are already older. You shouldn’t have to give up the love of an animal due to your age, but you do need to consider their future.
If you have a companion animal and are at or past the age of retirement, then you need to consider what might happen to your pet if anything happens to you. Addressing your animal in your estate plan can be a way to ensure that they get the support and love they deserve after a lifetime of caring for you. What are two ways to provide for your pet in your estate plan?
Plan a bequest with conditions
The simplest mean of providing for a pet in your estate plan is to leave a bequest to an individual with a condition attached. You choose someone to take the animal and then attach certain inheritance rights to their performance as caregiver.
You may require that they provide care for the animal and let it live in their home or allow them to live in your home with the animal, provided that it receives a certain standard of care. The idea is that this structure gives people more of an incentive to take care of the animal after you die, rather than to euthanize it to receive the property. Conditional bequests are permissible in New York, but they can be difficult to enforce and can open the estate up to challenges in probate court.
Create a pet trust
A pet trust is a popular solution for people who want to provide for a companion animal when they die. You can name one person to serve as the animal’s caregiver and a trustee to oversee their financial resources and care.
The type of animal you have and the overall value of your estate, as well as the relationship you have with your family members, can help you decide the best means of protecting your pet when you die. Including everyone who depends on you in your estate plan will give you peace of mind and give those that love you adequate protection after your desk.