View Blog Navigation

Estate plans can see to the needs of pets as well as heirs

Incorporating the needs of dogs or other companion animals in an estate plan would have raised eyebrows just a few years ago. However, pet provisions in wills and pet trusts are commonplace in Pennsylvania and around the country today. A pet of some kind can be found in two out of three American homes, and many of their owners take great comfort in knowing that their animals will be taken care of should something happen to them. However, including pets in a will may not be the wisest way to accomplish this as the probate process is lengthy and pets could languish in a shelter for several months as it runs its course.

Estate planners often use trusts because they allow estates to avoid the probate process. Furthermore, they provide a reliable way to make sure pets are cared for according to their owner's wishes. Adding pet provisions to an existing trust or creating a separate pet trust allows pet owners to set aside care money and designate a trusted individual to look after their companion animals.

Many pet owners also choose to draft durable powers of attorney that authorize a trusted person to take care of their animals should they become incapacitated. These documents could also be useful for pet owners who travel for extended periods as they can be worded to go into effect immediately or upon incapacity.

Attorneys with estate planning experience may suggest memorializing pet care instructions in a separate document that is incorporated into a pet trust. This could allow pet owners to change these instructions without updating the trust. Such changes may be required as pets get older and develop medical conditions. Legal counsel could also recommend naming a substitute or successive pet caretaker to prevent uncertainty should the primary choice be unable to assume the responsibilities for some reason.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Get Help Now

Need help from an attorney?
Don’t risk losing your rights by waiting. Contact us right now.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Vinsko & Associates, P.C.

Wilkes-Barre Office
37 North River Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

Phone: 570-550-0815
Fax: 570-970-9711
Wilkes-Barre Law Office Map

Philadelphia Office
1700 Market Street
Suite 1005
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone: 215-309-8275
Fax: 215-278-4764
Philadelphia Law Office Map

Review Us

Evening and weekend appointments available