When Your Pet Is Family and Not Property

Physician's Money Digest, January 2007, Volume 14, Issue 1

Bob Carlson's Retirement

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Under law, pets are tangible property,and in the event you pass away or areincapacitated, they are treated as such. Formany people, however, pets are a cherishedmember of the family. If that is howyou view Sparky, newsletter recommendsincluding your pet in your estate plan. Thefirst step is to locate someone who is ableand willing to care for your pet. Then youmust provide documentation with a photothat clearly identifies the pet and detailedinstructions on how to care for it. Thenewsletter also suggests creating a livingwill for your pet that describes how muchcare you want the vet to provide in differentcircumstances—when you would likethe pet to be euthanized or kept alive.Another option to consider is a pet trustdocument, which is recognized by severalstates. You create the trust as part of yourestate plan, and the trust funds are used tocare for your pet. Although not all statesenforce pet trusts, there is usually a trustthat can be established with the rightterms that will ensure your pet is cared foraccording to your wishes.