In the wake of recent weather-related disasters such as tornadoes in the Midwest and Super Storm Sandy on the East Coast, many in Nevada and elsewhere may be considering whether they have appropriate estate plans in place to deal with such disasters. For some, this reconsideration of estate planning includes putting documents in place that will deal with a pet should its owner be unable to care for it. Such documents were once regarded as being only for the rich, but now some authorities note that many people are planning for the care of their pets.
Like children, pets can be assigned a guardian should their primary caregiver be unable to care for them any longer. This person can be named in a will or other estate planning document. However, at least one authority notes that if a will is placed in the probate process and subject to litigation over other issues, the care of a pet may be in jeopardy during the time that it takes to go through the probate process.
This has led many in Nevada to consider creating a pet trust as a part of their estate planning efforts. In such a document, a person can be named as a guardian of a pet in the event that an owner is unable to care for them. In addition, funds set aside for the care of surviving animals may be allocated out of an estate. There are several different types of trusts that can be used.
Estate planning tools can be used to plan for many different life situations. For some, the need to put in place a plan for their beloved pets is one of the reasons to create an estate plan. With such tools, combined with more traditional estate planning documents, an individual can rest assured that all members of their family will be cared for after their death.
Source: Today.com, “Superstorm showed need for estate planning for pets,” Jacoba Urist, Nov. 12, 2012