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Can I add a family pet as a beneficiary in my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Your estate plans may provide for all of your beneficiaries, and may also include your pets. The family dog cannot inherit legal ownership of your Florida property, but you could create a trust with instructions for your chosen trustee to use its assets to care for your animals. 

Estate documents can outline who will take ownership of your pets after you die or if you become incapacitated. The Sunshine State’s laws view animals as your property, and much like a house, you should include them in your will or trust. 

What type of instructions could a trust include for my pet’s care?

The instructions you leave in your trust should include specific language that meets your pet’s individual needs. For example, if you own a pedigreed show dog, your canine may require weekly grooming, specialized food and regular training sessions. Your trust may need to contain detailed instructions on how to care for your pet. You can also allot the required funds to cover all of the animal’s expenses. 

As reported by MarketWatch, you could name a trustee who can serve as a caretaker for your pet. An alternative is to name a trustee who manages your trust and also oversees another individual who acts as the animal’s caretaker. Your pet, however, should have a bond with the caretaker you choose. 

What could happen to my pet if no one is available to care for it?

Without leaving instructions in a will or trust specifying someone to take care of a pet, it could end up in an animal shelter. To avoid an uncertain outcome for a pet, your estate plan may require updating to ensure its continued well-being.