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Factoring Fido into the estate planning process

Many Louisiana residents spend a great deal of time thinking about how to pass accumulated assets down to the next generation. They spend almost no time, however, planning how their pet will be cared for in the event of the owner's incapacitation or death. Pet care can and should be included in the estate planning process, so that a loved cat, dog or other pet will be properly cared for when the time comes.

The first thing to consider is who will care for the animal. That is not always a simple or easy decision to make. Very often, the person who is tasked with handling the financial aspects of an estate plan is not the best choice to take on the care of an animal. When considering options, be sure to speak with potential caregivers prior to making a decision, so that they are not blindsided if they are called into action.

Another consideration involves how to fund a pet's care. Some owners place funds into a trust to be used specifically for the pet's needs. Trustees can be assigned to oversee the trust. That approach allows for a system of checks and balances to help ensure that the animal is being cared for in an appropriate manner.

Deciding how to include a pet in one's estate planning is a very personal decision. In addition to making the initial preparations, Louisiana pet owners must also remember to update their estate plan from time to time. That ensures that any new pets are included in the plan, and that the best caregivers are designated.

Source: hometownlife.com, "Take your pet into account on financial planning", Rick Bloom, July 20, 2017

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