Including pets in your will can ensure animals are cared for after you’re gone

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What happens to your pets when you die? Since pets are seen as property under the law, they’re a part of your estate, just like any other property you own. Because of this, you can use your will to leave them as a gift to someone, just like you would with any other property.

Lou Silverman, Founder of Silverman Law Offices explained what you need to know to have a plan in place.

Like many people, you probably consider your pets to be a part of your family and want to make sure they’re taken care of after you’re gone. But in the eyes of the law, pets are considered property, and you cannot use your will to leave them an inheritance.

Tips include:

1. Including a pet clause in your last will and testament

2. Choosing a pet guardian

3. Leaving money to pets in a will

4. Setting up a pet trust.

Other suggestions:

When listing your pets in your will, be specific, especially if you own more than one animal. For example, instead of writing “my dog goes to my brother” write your dog’s name and breed, and use your brother’s full legal name.

When deciding on a pet guardian, choose someone you know well and trust. You want to select someone who will provide for your pets like you would. This person will be responsible for providing food, shelter, vet care, and companionship.

If you have more than one pet, consider if you want one person to care for all of them, or if you want to send them to separate homes.

Lou Silverman/Founder, Silverman Law Offices

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