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Use estate planning to provide for a pet after death

Many Delaware residents take steps to provide for their spouses, children and even charities after their deaths. However, there is someone else who needs protection and provision as well -- the family pet. Estate planning can provide for the fate of a pet after death.

Delaware residents may be surprised just how many pets end up in shelters after the death of their owners. Even when an individual gets a verbal okay from someone to take in a pet, when faced with actually doing so, some people may not abide by that verbal agreement. Making provisions in an estate plan requires more of a commitment from someone since the agreement is in writing.

Choosing someone to care for a pet often includes discussing the matter with him or her and obtaining a more concrete agreement. Cost is often a concern for someone who takes in a pet, and providing funds for the caregiver to draw from could alleviate that issue. A bank account under the control of the estate's executor or a trust could help ensure that the money goes toward the pet's care. The amount depends on several factors. If a pet eats only expensive dog food and requires regular veterinary care, those costs need to be taken into consideration.

Making the final arrangements for the care of a pet using estate planning could provide its owner with some peace of mind that someone will take over the pet's care and will have the money to do so. For those whose pets are like children, this may be more than just a desire, but a necessity. Ensuring that everything is in proper order may require the help of an attorney.

Source: MarketWatch, "How to provide for your pet in your estate plan," Cheryl Winokur Munk, Nov. 30, 2017

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