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Don't forget about your pets in your estate plan

Pets are an important part of families across Toledo, whether they are dogs, cats, birds or other animal companions. Every day, we care for them, provide for them and interact with them and it can be nearly impossible to imagine life without a beloved pet.

Considering how important pets are to us, it can be crucial that we not forget about them when it comes to things like estate plans. If you have a pet, you will likely be thinking about what will happen to it when you pass you away and who will care for it.

There are two options pet owners will want to consider, as noted by this AARP article.

You can leave instructions for who should care for your pets in your will. However, you should first make sure this person is willing and capable of taking on this responsibility. Rather than saddle that person with an unwanted responsibility or put them in a position to make a very difficult decision, you can talk to them and make sure this is an arrangement that works for all parties involved.

Another option is to set up a trust naming a caregiver and/or a trustee to take over care. With a trust, you can also set terms for gifts and financial support to cover pet-related expenses to help the person who is caring for the pet. It should also be noted that unlike a will, a trust can go into effect right away, leaving little or not time for the pet to be left without care. 

Failure to express your wishes for your pet in a will or trust can result in some unwanted consequences. Rather than assume someone will take care of your pet or put your loved ones in a very uncomfortable situation, you can address pet care and ownership in your estate plan. Working with an attorney and discussing the matter with those involved by your decision can help you protect your pet and ensure it will be protected and cared for when you are gone.

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