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Keep pets in mind when setting up trusts

Pets are beloved members of many Florida families. Unfortunately, they are often forgotten in their owners' estate planning documents because some people may assume that their friends and families will somehow end up taking care of them. However, unless people outline their wishes for their pets in their trusts and other estate planning documents, they cannot be assured that their loving companions will be cared for.

A recent ASPCA survey indicates that only 17 percent of pet owners have taken any legal action to provide for their care after their death. Many pets end up in animal shelters after their owners pass away because many casual plans do not come into fruition. To prevent this from happening, the ASPCA suggests that, at the least, a pet owner should draw up a Pet Protection Agreement, which is an arrangement between a pet owner and those designated to take care of his or her pets.

However, pet owners may want to prepare for their pets' most complex needs too. Even if their animals are healthy now, people may want to plan for the future, particularly for when their pets age and may require more medical attention. Those who wish to plan for their pets' futures could set up a trust for them. In the event that the owner becomes incapacitated or unable to care for them, the trust may ensure that the pets are taken care of according to the owner's wishes.

Estate planning may seem overwhelming for many people; however, those who wish to create wills, trusts and other documents may benefit by seeking legal counsel. An experienced estate administration attorney in Florida could assist pet owners in drafting documents like trusts to help ensure that their furry companions will be taken care of.

Source: Kiplinger, "Put a Plan in Place to Ensure Pets' Care ", Eleanor Laise, June 01, 2013

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