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Caring for the needs of your dog after you’re gone

As you establish your estate plan, you’ll likely consider all the members of your family. Though many people consider their four-legged companion to be a loved one, the law deems a dog personal property.

As such, you can’t leave money to your dog. However, that’s not to say you lack the ability to make choices about his care. Through a Pet Trust, you can provide continued care for your sweet Fido after you’ve passed.

What are your options in a Pet Trust?

In your drafting of a Pet Trust, you can specify:

Fido’s beneficiary – You can identify your dog by microchip, pet license or photo.

Fido’s financial needs – This includes the additional costs of administering this trust, in addition to the financial support necessary to provide what you consider to be proper care for Fido.

A trustee – An adult, organization or lawyer can serve in this capacity, managing the funds and distributing regular payments to Fido’s caregiver. Your trustee will oversee Fido’s care and, per your instructions, monitor instances necessitating his move to your specified alternate caregiver.

Fido’s new caregiver – Which person, people or organization do you want to care for Fido? You may want to choose two separate caregivers in case one’s ability to care for Fido changes over the course of his life.

Care instructions – You may specify the type of food Fido should eat, his exercise regimen, veterinarian check frequency, grooming requirements and sleeping arrangements.

Instructions for Fido’s end of life – At what point should Fido’s care cease? And, to what extent do you want your vet involved? You can also specify the handling of his remains.  

Beyond what you’ve stated regarding Fido, you can select another beneficiary to receive any remaining funds once your beloved Fido is laid to rest.

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