Stachler Harmon Attorneys at Law
Estate Planning Can Also Provide for Pet Care After Death
Making an estate plan that covers one's pets in Ohio is best accomplished through the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney. The special circumstances of a pet bequest make it not allowed for inclusion in a will in some states. The estate planning solution of choice may be to create a revocable living trust and fund the pet's trust while the owner is still alive. This will assure funding, greater attention to the matter and likely a greater opportunity to discuss and prepare the terms in cooperation with the beneficiary.
The beneficiary is the caretaker named under the trust who will take care of the pet or pets on the death of the benefactor. It is always good to name an alternative beneficiary in this situation in case the first choice resigns or dies. Both the original and the alternate should receive detailed instructions from the benefactor. The instructions are not for inclusion in the trust or the will but can be included in a letter to the caretaker.
As one might expect, the main challenge is to find the right caretaker. This can be a decision that does not work out on occasion and which indicates the added importance of appointing an alternate. For many people, it would be heartbreaking to know that the provisions for beloved pets failed in some way to be fully carried out according to their wishes.
That is why the Ohio pet owner should take some time to ponder the choice of caretaker and to engage in personal discussion with that individual. Where no caretaker can be found, the trust may have to be geared toward funding a spot for the pet(s) at an established pet residential facility. That may or may not have an effect on the amount and extent of the funding that will go into the trust. Most persons will not attempt to explain the estate planning legal process to the subject pet(s), but somehow we can have faith that they know and appreciate what we do to keep them healthy and happy.
Source: bravotv.com, "Should I Have a Financial Plan for My Pet: Estate Planning", Kristyn Pomranz, April 16, 2018