Allison Harrison
June 16, 2023

What are the Dos and Don'ts of Including Your Pet in Your Estate Plan?

Pets are a central part of families!  Responsible pet owners must consider their furry friends' well-being in the event that you can no longer care for them yourself. By including your pet in your estate plan, you can ensure they receive the care and attention (all the belly rubs and ear scratches!!) they deserve it even when you're no longer able to provide it personally. 

Do: Appoint a Dedicated Pet Guardian

Pet Guardians are named in your will. When deciding on who to select, consider who will provide genuine affection for your pet and who is responsible enough to care for them. Have an honest conversation with your chosen guardian to ensure their willingness to provide a loving and secure home for your pet. We always recommend having a backup guardian in the event the primary is unable or unwilling to. 

Do: Create a Pet Profile

A pet profile should include pertinent information such as dietary preferences, regular veterinarian, exercise routines, medical conditions, and any behavioral quirks. It is important to update this throughout the life of your pet so your guardian can make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Do: Consider Financial Provisions

Pets are not cheap - they require regular vet appointments, food, and sometimes medicine or treatment. To alleviate the financial burden on your chosen guardian, consider allocating funds specifically for your pet's well-being. The amount you leave is ultimately up to you, but you should consider the costs of routine expenses like food, grooming, veterinary visits, vaccinations, and medications. You may need to review this allocation as your pets age or their health conditions change.

Don't: Forget to Communicate Your Intentions

Ensure that your loved ones are aware of your decision to include your pet in your estate plan. Discuss your wishes openly with family members and the designated guardians to avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings. Providing clarity and understanding regarding your intentions will help alleviate stress and uncertainty during an already difficult time.