Pets are family. I was one of the first Ohio attorneys to publish an article on pet trusts after Ohio adopted laws permitting them, and I regularly incorporate pets into my client’s planning.
You have several options for planning for your pet’s future if you die or become incapacitated, including provisions in your will or trust, or a separate pet trust. Additionally, I create an emergency power of attorney for my pet estate planning clients. It is used to permit people you designate to enter your home to care for your pet during an emergency. If you are in a car accident and unconscious in the hospital, who will know that you have a pet at home that needs care? If you die, who would need to enter your home and take possession of your pet to care for it until its new caregiver arrives?
Providing for your pet in your will is better than no planning, but wills can be delayed in probate or other reasons, delaying the transfer of funds to the person you choose to care for your pet. Establishing a pet trust, either alone or by an amendment to your existing trust, is the most effective method to ensure that your pet receives the care it needs after you are gone.