Most pet owners consider their pets to be a part of the family. Kimberly Hanlon, co-founder of our firm, adores her beloved little Roo, whose picture is on this post. Kimberly understands about the special bond between pets and owners.
Unfortunately, often the plans people carefully put together to protect their loved ones overlook the care of their pets. According to the ASPCA, less than 20% of dog and cat owners take the necessary legal steps to ensure their pets are cared for after they are gone.
Most people assume that close family members know how important the pet is to that person, so surely someone in the family will take responsibility for the animal. However, many pets that outlive their owners end up in shelters because no formal provisions have been made for them. It is estimated that in the U.S. one dog is euthanized every 72 seconds because of the death or incapacity of its owner.
Almost every state has laws that allow pet owners to create a trust for the care of their pets, but sadly Minnesota is not one of them. Nonetheless, you can still create a plan that will ensure the care of your pet within your own trust. To ensure that checks and balances are in place, you may want to consider naming a different person to serve as trustee, to handle the money, than your pet’s caregiver, who would be responsible for the day-to-day care of your pet.
In your trust, you can give instructions on exactly how you want your pet to be treated – vet and groomer visit frequency, preferred pet food, and any particular medical needs that will require special attention. You will need to allocate sufficient funds to cover your pet’s anticipated life span, including additional medical care as your pet ages.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to provide for your pet in your will – you can bequeath the animal itself to someone, but Minnesota law doesn’t allow you to leave money or property to an animal, so any money you left to the proposed caregiver could be spent on anything they wished, and not necessarily your pet. They would have no obligation to care for your pet or even continue to keep it.
If you would like more information about protecting your loved ones – including your pets — call our office at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.