An often overlooked part of an estate plan relates to something most people care about deeply during life: Where will my pets go when I pass away?

Although many people consider their pets to be a part of the family, legally pets are considered personal property. They should be included in a client’s estate plan if there is concern regarding where the pet will go at the client’s death. Most people assume a family member or even a friend will step up to take care of their pets. However, to ensure that a furry friend is properly taken care of and provided for at death, a pet trust can be created.

When most people hear about pet trusts, they think of someone leaving all of their money to their dog so that the dog can live a life of luxury with its own swimming pool and a private movie theater (e.g., Leona Helmsley’s pampered pooch, Trouble). However, in reality, a pet trust allows a client to name the individuals they would like to care for their pet after they have passed away. It also provides a sum of money for the pet caregiver to use in caring for the animal for its lifetime.