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Estate Planning for Your Animals

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: October 4, 2013

Whether you have a Westminster winner or a shelter sheltie, owning a pet is an investment of time, money and love. Trusts that provide for the care, expense and responsibility of caring for an animal after its owner passes are gaining in popularity in Washington state and all over the country.

Some simple steps can ensure that your pet is cared for, even if something should happen to you.

  • Set up a trust. A trust is often the first step to providing for loved ones, canine, feline or otherwise, once you’re gone. You will need to decide how to fund the trust, who will administer it, and who the pet’s caregiver will be. You should also include care instructions for the animal, and what should be done with the money once your pet has passed.
  • Choose a guardian. Pet guardian programs are popping up all over the United States. These programs will find a loving home for your pet after you pass, solving the problem of having to identify a caregiver. This also frees family from having to make the difficult decision of what to do with your pets after you have passed. You should visit any facility you are considering and ask plenty of questions before putting anything in writing.
  • Communicate your wishes. After you put everything in writing and have it vetted, make sure family members and loved ones know what you want done with your animals after you are gone. This will prevent any confusion after your death and before your will is carried out.

Over the past 21 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More