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Certified Elder Law Attorneys Serving New Jersey Residents Since 1978.

Remember your dog in your estate plan

You should never assume your assets will go where you want them if you do not mention them in your estate plan. This is particularly true for pets. Many people leave their pets out of their estate plans, assuming a family member will take in the animal, but that is not always what happens

Most legal professionals would recommend creating a pet trust rather than including provisions in your will. Ultimately, you just need some kind of plan in place, and that involves talking to your loved ones ahead of time. You need to include all your loved ones in your estate plan, even your furry loved ones. 

Select a caretaker

You should never assume a family member or friend will take in your pet. You should talk with people you want looking after your animal ahead of time. Some people may not want to take on the extra responsibility, even if you were to offer money for the role. Once a person has agreed, you can write the arrangement in your will or trust. 

Set aside money

Next, you need to determine how much you typically spend on your animal every month. With a pet trust, the caretaker can receive the necessary funds every month to pay for pet-related expenses. You may also want to include a provision stating if the pet dies prematurely, the caretaker automatically receives the rest of the money. 

Create a care plan

You then want to make sure you have instructions on how to care for your pet. This includes how often it should eat and what type of food is best.

Formalize everything

A verbal agreement is not enough. The caretaker could decide to back out at the last second, leaving the animal in a shelter. With a formal trust, everyone is on the same page. You can rest easy knowing your dog will be safe after you pass. 

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Macri Law Group
49 Ridgedale Avenue
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East Hanover, NJ 07936

Phone: 973-577-6010
Phone: 973-577-6010
Fax: 973-887-6237
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