Estate planning for your pet

As my dear friend’s awful cancer journey neared the end, it forced her family to make the gut-wrenching decision to remove her beloved dogs from her home. The two rescue dogs, which had provided so much comfort to her throughout her life and illness, had become hazards for my walker-bound, increasingly confused friend. The family had to scramble to find homes and care providers for the dogs, which added extra stress and trauma to an already unbearably sad situation. Had she known about the possibility, my friend might have been able to mitigate some of the stress and heartache by setting up a caretaker trust for her pets. According to Wisconsin Statute 701.0408, a person can set up a trust to “provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.” In order to set up the trust, you must name both a trustee and a beneficiary, which is nice because the trustee is then required to do occasional check-ins on the pet to ensure that your pet is receiving care according to your wishes. In addition to protecting your beloved pets in the event of your death, you should also consider protecting them in case of your disability. Consider, for instance, the cost of a dog walker or kennel stay and factor that into the amount of coverage you purchase. If you have any questions regarding estate planning for your pets, please call the office. One of our advisors would be glad to run through the available options to give you and your family some peace of mind.