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Estate Planning for Pets in Nebraska

Posted by Jerry Clinch | Aug 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Perhaps you have done some Estate Planning, such as setting up a Last Will & Testament, which directs what is to happen with your money and property once you pass away. Have you considered what will happen to your pet(s) once you are gone? Is a Will the best way for you to provide for your beloved pet(s) after you have passed away? What considerations should you make when planning for the future care of your pet? This Article aims to answer these questions.

Estate Planning for your Pets

Proper Estate Planning can help to ensure that your furry friends are well cared for after you are gone. In this Author's opinion, a Last Will & Testament is not good option to ensure that your pets are cared for after you pass away. The reason that a Will is not a good option for this situation is that Wills generally have to go through Probate, and your pets don't have time for Probate; if you use a Last Will & Testament for your Estate Planning goals, your pets could be in limbo until it is determined who will care for them. Additionally, a Will does not protect your animals in the event that you become incapacitated. 

A much better option to ensure for the immediate and continued care of your pets is to set up a Pet Trust. While it is possible to have a stand-alone Pet Trust prepared, it is generally more common to include a Pet Trust within your Revocable Living Trust. The Pet Trust provisions will be tailored to your specific needs and generally provides information about your animals, such as name and description of the animal, and sets aside certain funds to be used for the care of your animals. A Trustee is appointed to handle the funds, and an animal caretaker is appointed who is responsible for the day-to-day care of the animal, though the Pet Trust technically owns the animals. Once the animal passes away, the remaining money is distributed to the remainder beneficiaries of the Trust. Normally, planning for your animals is a simple and straightforward process.

Selecting an Animal Caretaker

When choosing an appropriate animal caretaker, it is important to select someone who loves animals and has experience taking care of them. Ideally, you will name an initial caretaker, and one or two back-up caretakers to serve consecutively; it is not advised to select multiple caretakers at a time as doing so can result in unintended conflict over the animals. It is also advisable to select an organization of last resort in the event that no other caretakers are available, such as a no-kill shelter, to take the animal in the event that none of the caretakers that you have selected are willing or able to care for your animal.

You should also confirm with the caretakers that you select that they are up for the job as it should not come as a surprise to an individual that they are supposed to be an animal's caretaker. Additionally, you should discuss your plans concerning the care of your animals with the prospective caretaker to ensure that this is something that they are willing and able to do.

Additional Considerations

It is important to remember that animals require love, time, attention, and money. It is also important to consider an animal's lifespan when planning for the future. For example, some birds and tortoises can live for up to 100 years! If you have an animal with a long lifespan, you will need to plan accordingly.

Planning for larger animals, such as a horse, can require additional attention and planning. Put simply, horses typically cost a lot of money, and so does feeding and caring for the horse, or other large animal. It is also important to ensure picking the right caretaker, as horses and other large animals can be dangerous, if for no other reason than their size.

Contact Clinch Law Firm to Provide Peace of Mind

Take steps to give yourself, and your furry friends, Peace of Mind today. Contact Clinch Law Firm, LLC to schedule a consultation at our York, Nebraska office, or feel free to schedule a complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation or a 60-minute in-person consultation for a time that works for you here: Appointment Scheduler. Virtual appointments are also available, upon request.

About the Author

Jerry Clinch

Jerry has extensive trial experience and knowledge regarding estate planning, probate, asset protection, business law and business formations.  You can reach Jerry at [email protected] 

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