If you are like many pet owners in Georgia, you want to make sure your animals have quality care after your death. Fortunately, there are several estate planning steps you may take to make sure your will includes your pets and provides for their needs. You use your will to describe guardianship instructions for your pet. You may also consider creating a pet trust that allows you to leave money specifically designated for your pet’s care.
According to U.S. News and World Report, most states view pets as assets when it comes to estate planning. This means that naming a guardian for your pets in your will is similar to giving an heir a piece of furniture or jewelry. You may use your will to disburse a certain amount of money to the guardian to help him or her take care of your pets. However, it is not always possible to ensure that the guardian uses those funds to provide your pets with food, shelter and medical care. Creating a pet trust may give you more control over your pets’ future.
In general, a pet trust may allow you to create an enforceable care plan for your pet. You may set aside money from your estate to fund the trust and name a family member or friend to serve as the trustee. You may also designate a guardian for your pet. Generally, the trustee and the guardian are different people. The guardian is the person who will take care of your pets on a daily basis. The trustee ensures that the money in the trust goes toward your pet’s daily needs, such as food, toys and veterinary care.
This general information on estate planning for pets is intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.