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How may an estate plan cover animals and pets?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2022 | wills and trusts | 0 comments

Animals generally classify as property under Florida’s statutes. Because you cannot leave your assets to property in a will, your pets or other animals you own cannot inherit your assets. You could, however, create a trust and provide instructions for your chosen trustee to care for your animals or pets after your death.

As noted by the AARP, individuals may set up trusts and then list their trusts in their wills. When you create your will, you could describe how to fund your trust with your cash or assets. You could also include proceeds from life insurance policies.

Covering the needs of animals requiring uncommon care

If you own horses, livestock or exotic animals, your trust’s documents may outline how to take care of them. notes that you could describe your animals’ special feeding routines or housing needs.

The trustee you choose to look after your pets or animals has a duty of care to follow your trust’s directions and oversee their well-being. Your instructions could, for example, detail how to use the trust’s funds for your animals, such as building a new stable for your horses. You may also include information outlining dietary needs and medical treatments.

Choosing a suitable trustee

Because your pets may live with your trustee after your death, consider choosing someone close to them. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance suggests naming an animal lover as your trustee. You could also consider naming an individual with financial or budgeting skills.

Your trustee will need to exercise sufficient care so that the trust funds last the lifespan of your animals. Your instructions may also include details covering a pet’s burial and how a trustee should distribute any remaining assets after an animal has died.