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Estate Planning Strategies to Protect Your Pets

Americans will spend an estimated $63 billion on their pets this year, a figure that has risen steadily over the past decade. Add that to the fact that 67% of American households have a pet, and it’s easy to see that we are indeed a nation of pet lovers.

If you want to make sure there is someone to lavish the same kind of care that you do on your pampered pooch or cherished cat if you should suddenly become incapacitated or die, then you should have a discussion with a Florida estate planning attorney about estate planning for pets.

The fact is, unless there is a legal document that spells out your wishes, you can never be entirely sure what will happen to your pet. Even well intended family members may not have the means or the desire to take care of your pet, so assuming that they would is not a good plan.

You can start by choosing a guardian (or guardians, since people move and circumstances change) and drafting a formal agreement for the care of your pet. The agreement should be shared with family and your vet, and should be separate from your will – leaving instructions for pet care in a will that may take months to be settled leaves your pet without the immediate care it will need.

You should also amend any power of attorney documents to name a caretaker for your pet in case you are incapacitated, and provide instructions on the disbursement of funds for your pet’s care during your incapacitation.

Be sure to provide full background information on your pet for any caretakers, including the pet’s likes and dislikes, any medications, vet information, how often the pet should be taken to the vet, etc.

You can also execute a Florida pet trust that will allow you to set aside funds for your pet’s care during the rest of its life and name a trustee (who may be different than the caretaker) to manage the trust assets for the benefit of your pet. This is becoming an increasingly popular method of ensuring a beloved pet is cared for the way you want, in case you are not around to see to it.

A qualified Florida estate planning attorney can help you determine the best strategies to protect your loved ones; to learn more, contact our Florida law firm for your free consultation.

Categories: Estate Planning
dorcey law firm
The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC - Fort Myers Attorney
Located at 10181 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, Suite C, Fort Myers, FL 33966
Phone: (239) 330-6674
Local Phone: (239) 418-0169