Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pets, Wills and 5 Things to Know

M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2012, one of our 4-legged family members, Willa.

Without a doubt, four-legged family members are dear to peoples' hearts.  Whether you have a Fiddo the Dog, Fluffy the Cat, or Birdie the Bird, keep the following in mind when preparing a will.

  1. Pets that have a high value, let's say over $1,000, should be mentioned in a will because they are technically property.  If you have pure-breed animals worth their weight in gold, they are an asset and should be addressed as so;
  2. Pet trusts, created in a will, are useful for animals with a long life span (i.e. turtles, parrots) or large medical bills.  A trust allows you to place the animal(s) and a sum of money in a trust to care for the animal(s), and then distribute any remaining assets upon the animal(s) passing;
  3. Use a letter of instruction to provide the name of the veterinarian you use as well as information on special food or medicine for your pet.  This does not belong in your will, but needs to be available immediately should something happen to you;
  4. A primary reason animals end up in shelters is due to a sudden death or nursing home stay.  Life happens, what will happen to your pet(s).  Give it some thought now, and save a lot of grief down the road.  Put your wishes in the letter of instruction; and
  5. Make sure someone can get into your home to provide food, water, medicine, etc. should you  have a sudden illness or death. Houseplants can survive a few weeks, but not your beloved animal(s).
Thanks for reading, and remember a blog is not an attorney.  Please seek legal advice from a lawyer in your State.

No comments: