A vital part of your estate planning is to designate your assets and property, such as inheritance money and your home, to your heirs. If you have pets, you might not realize that you will need to provide for their needs after your death as well. At the Miami law firm of Luis E. Barreto & Associates, P.A., we regularly include instructions for the care of pets in the wills and trusts of our clients, and we understand how important it is to take as much care in this aspect of your estate planning as the rest of your affairs.

According to an article by Bankrate, up to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year because their owners did not specify what should happen to them after their death. It can be easy to assume that your loved ones will automatically step forward to care for your beloved animals once you’re gone; after all, you consider your pets members of the family. However, your beneficiaries may not feel quite the same about your cat or dog as you do. When planning your will, you should be sure to name a beneficiary that you know and trust to provide the same kind of loving care to your pets as you do now. You should discuss this with the heir in question before putting his or her name in the will, however.

When planning for your pet’s needs in a will or trust, the following considerations can be helpful:

  • A second and third choice as caregiver
  • Funds for the care of the pet, including veterinary expenses, food, toys and grooming
  • Additional information, such as the pet’s temperament, favorite food, likes and dislikes, health concerns, medications and preferred vet

Pets are considered property in our legal system, but we understand that your pets are much more than things to own. As your furry family members, you owe it to them to ensure they are cared for if they outlive you. For more information on will and trust planning, visit our page by clicking here.

Luis E. Barreto