Newman Law Group

Pets can be included in wills

Pets are an important part of many families. Some individuals shudder to think that a pet would be abandoned or separated from everything it knows. That's why, in California, people may choose to include pets in their wills

Making a care plan for pets in the event of incapacitation or death can be part of a winning preparedness strategy. Experts recommend doing even simple things, like informing your family about your pets, designating an emergency caregiver, and posting emergency information in a visible place in the home as a way to ensure their happiness and safety. If a pet becomes displaced and is sent to a shelter, there are no guarantees that a designated caregiver will be able to retrieve the pet in case of emergency, unless there is a formal document in place. 

Once a person decides upon a designated caregiver, they may choose to add that information into the will. Some individuals have set up a trust for the care of their pets in the event of their death. When a person chooses to create a formal document that sets guidelines for the care of pets, it is more likely that one's wishes will be honored. 

Individuals may overlook this common estate planning issue. Since many people in California enjoy the company of their pets, and want to protect the pet's best interests, they may find it useful to include pets in wills. A pet owner who wants to include pets in their comprehensive estate plan may choose to do so with the aid of a lawyer. 

Source: sgvtribune.com, "Message from Pasadena Humane Society: Don't omit pets from estate planning", Julie Bank, Sept. 25, 2017

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