Many New Jersey residents consider their pets as members of the family and would go to great lengths to ensure that they are happy and healthy. However, many fail to consider what would happen to their beloved animals in the event of the owner’s death. Including pets within one’s estate planning is an attainable goal and is also an incredible gift that pet owners can give their furry family members.
One way to include pets within one’s estate plan is the creation of a special pet trust. This solution requires a significant investment of time and effort, however, and is best suited for animals that require expensive and highly specialized care, such as horses or rare pets. For owners of beloved cats and dogs, a simplified approach is often the best possible solution.
Individuals can and should talk to their family members to determine who is willing and able to take on the care of pets should the need arise. These individuals can be designated within estate planning documents. In addition, a monetary gift can be left to the designated caretaker to help offset the cost of caring for the animal(s), if desired.
Including pets within a New Jersey estate plan is just one example of the incredible flexibility that exists within the field of estate planning. Various options can be put to use to ensure that pets are provided for in the event of the owner’s death. How to structure those provisions is up to each individual pet lover.
Source: The National Law Review, “Pets and Estate Planning re: Pet Trusts“, John P. Didon, March 3, 2015