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What happens to your dog when you die?

| Aug 12, 2020 | Estate Planning |

History is full of heart-wrenching stories of dogs who mourn their owners. If you cannot bear the thought of your pooch spending the rest of its life looking for you, you need to take steps to ensure it is well cared for after you are gone.

You can name a caregiver in your will

You can state in your will who will look after your pet when you die. Consult with them first. However much your daughter loves your dog, if her new husband has a fur allergy, it could cause problems. It is wise to name a backup option in case people’s situations change.

You cannot leave your estate to your dog

As much as you might want to, the law prevents you from leaving assets directly to your pet. It treats animals as property, not living beings. Thus you cannot name them as a beneficiary of your estate.

You might not want to entrust things for your dog to a human

You could leave enough money to your son to ensure that Fido gets his daily T-bone steak for the rest of his days. However, there is nothing to stop your son from spending the money on a luxury vacation and condemning Fido to a diet of biscuits and water.

A pet trust can help ensure your pet is well looked after

By placing money in a pet trust, you can stipulate what it is for. If the person managing the trust discovers your son does not have the necessary butcher’s receipts, he may choose to hand Fido over to someone who will comply with your wishes.

While you can specify details, such as how often the caregiver must walk the dog, it is unrealistic to expect the trustee to follow their every move. If your son chooses to buy the T-bones steaks and eat them while Fido watches on, it might never be discovered.

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