Can a will take care of your pets after a death?

If you are like most pet owners in Oklahoma City, you see your beloved cats, dogs or other animals as members of the family. What would happen to your pets if you died? Is there a way to make sure they will be taken care of once you're gone?

If you leave specific instructions about your pets in a will, you can help ensure they continue to get the same loving attention they did under your care. According to Bankrate, pets are considered property under the legal system in the United States. This means you wouldn't be able to leave your home to your dog or cat as you would your child. However, you can leave your pets to any heirs you trust to provide the best care to your furry companions.

When updating your estate plan, be sure you specify in your will the beneficiaries you wish your pets to go to in the event of your death. You will want to discuss this with the people you have in mind first, to rule out allergies or other factors that might prevent your relatives from taking over the care of your animals. The following are some good points to include when you put a pet in your will:

  • The person you designate as the animal’s caregiver, as well as a second choice
  • Specific funds you have set aside for the care of your pet, such as feeding, grooming and veterinary treatment
  • Information on the pet’s feeding habits, personality, favorite toys and activities, veterinarian and any other information that will add to the pet’s comfort, health and well-being

It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs are put to sleep each year because their owners did not plan living and care arrangements after their death. By leaving instructions regarding pets in your will, you will have the peace of mind knowing that they will be in good hands if you pass away before them. The content in this post is meant as general information and not as legal advice.

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