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Pets may be a concern of New Jersey owners during estate planning

Many New Jersey residents often consider their pets as part of the family. Therefore, they may be concerned about the welfare of those pets in the event that the owners suffer from a situation in which they are not able to properly care for their pets. In some cases, that issue could be due to illness or incapacitation or potentially due to the owner's demise. If individuals are concerned about pet care, they may wish to consider addressing the matter during estate planning.

If incapacitation occurs, parties are often unable to care for themselves let alone their pets. Therefore, individuals may wish to ensure that they have appointed caretakers for their pets. Additionally, if a durable power of attorney has been appointed, a pet owner will likely want to make sure that the appointed individual has to ability to use funds to take care of pet-related expenses.

Additionally, care for pets can also be addressed in a person's will. They may be able to disclose who should become the owner of the animals in the event of the original owner's demise, though it is prudent to ensure that the new owner has already agreed to such an arrangement. Owners may also be able to utilize a Pet Care Trust if such an option is available to them. 

Because addressing pets during the estate planning procedure can require different steps than certain other arrangements, New Jersey residents may wish to find out more about their options and how they can make sure their pets are properly cared for. Information on wills, trusts, powers of attorney and how those legal aspects can be used to care for pets may be useful to interested parties. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney could also prove beneficial.

Source: mysanantonio.com, "4 steps to including pet care in your estate plan", Paul Premack, Jan. 5, 2016

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