Can I Leave My Estate to My Dog? - DogGear

Can I Leave My Estate to My Dog?

For many dog owners, pets are considered their family. Their dogs are their babies. These pets rely on their owners when it comes to their food, overall health and the care that is given to them. If you have a pet, then it is almost natural to think about them when you are writing your will. It is perfectly understandable to consider about your pet’s ongoing needs, and providing for them in the event that you no longer can. 

But including your pet in your will isn’t as simple as leaving them your home, or tons of money. Technically, pets are still considered property, so you cannot really leave them one. However, you can still make sure that they live a good, healthy and protected life in the long run. 

You can still have estate planning for your pet. Estate planning for your pet can ensure you of any of the following, depending on your choice: 

  • Your pet is taken proper care of by an organization or person
  • You can also make sure that the one that will be taking care of your pet will have the necessary resources to give your pet the life that it needs

Estate Planning Options for Your Pet

When it comes to estate planning for your pet, you have some options. You have the following options: 

  • Non-legal arrangements 
  • Establishing a pet trust 
  • Leaving your pet to an organization 

Including Pets in Your Will 

While you cannot certainly leave your pet some money or property, you can still use it to leave your pet to a trusted person or caretaker, along with the money needed for it to live a long and happy life, being provided of all its needs. 

However, in most of these kinds of arrangements, you simply be leaving your pet to another owner. The money that you will leave will have no legal obligations or repercussions. So make sure that you consider this in your will. Make sure that you really choose someone trustworthy in the event that you are making this choice. 

Get a Pet Trust

If you want a stronger and legally binding option, then you can consider getting a pet trust. While this will be much more expensive than including instructions in your will, this includes a legal obligation to your caretaker. If your designated caretaker fails to take care of your pet, or if he or she accidentally uses the money for other things, there will be legal repercussions. There is also the possibility of being sued as well. Trust documents will usually include the following: 

  • The name of your caretaker
  • It also includes state pets
  • You can leave money to be used for taking care of your pet
  • You can add certain provisions or instructions on how you want your pet to be taken care of 
  • You can name someone who will go to court, who will be enforcing the terms of the trust in the event that it is needed
  • You can determine what should be done with the money you have left in case your pet dies

Other Arrangements 

Not everyone can afford a pet trust, and not everyone will have someone to trust to take care in the long run. There are, however, programs that can help you leave your pet to a trustworthy person, organization or caretaker in the event that you die. You can choose from animal sanctuaries and even veterinary school programs as well.  

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