How to Write Your Pet Into Your Will With a Probate Attorney
Recent research and polls have found that animal lovers are more likely to leave a portion of their estate to their pets than other family members. Pets don’t usually count as a priority for people, so only pet parents are aware that they need a will or living trust to make sure their pets are cared for in the event of their death. Pets are considered property and, for this reason, should be included in your will with the help of a probate attorney.
Why Do You Need a Probate Attorney?
Pets do not have the same legal rights as human beings. Without legal help, your beloved pet will likely end up in the animal shelter if it’s not adopted or given away by your family members. While it might be tempting to write your pet into your will on your own, but it’s advisable to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you plan for your pet’s future.
An attorney can help give instructions on what to do with your pet. They can inform you all about the rules regarding pets in a will. This way, you won’t worry about taking care of your pet anymore because the attorney will be there to help you out with that matter.
Additionally, they can tell you who should be taking care of your pet after you die, as well as other important details regarding your non-human family member and their caretakers. Generally, tasks performed by a probate attorney include:
1) Verify that there are no living heirs or beneficiaries who could inherit the deceased’s property
2) Determine if there is a valid will or if it has been lost
3) Draft an inheritance petition for submission to the court
4) Notify all living heirs and beneficiaries
5) Preserve all of the decedent’s assets until they can fully distribute them
6) Submit final reports to appropriate agencies detailing all transactions and distributions made during their representation.
7) Distribute remaining assets to any remaining heirs or beneficiaries once their portion has been calculated.
What Your Probate Attorney Should Consider When Writing Your Pet in Your Will
It’s always hard to think about losing a beloved pet but leaving them out of your will is even more challenging. A probate attorney can help you write your pet into your will. Here are some things to consider when writing your pet into your will:
Legal Rights – The first thing to know is that, in most states, pets don’t have legal rights. A person cannot get a divorce on the grounds of cruelty to animals or sue for the wrongful death of a pet. It means that if the animal gets separated from their owner, they have no rights against their owner’s estate. If you want to make sure that your animals are taken care of, you have to specify it in your will.
Provider for Your Pet – There are several ways to provide for your pet. You can name an executor who will be responsible for caring for any animals in the event of your death. You can also ask an individual or organization to take over ownership and care of the animals after you die. Be sure that all necessary provisions are made concerning food, shelter, and medical care costs throughout the animal’s lifetime.
Does the owner have enough money saved up to ensure my pet is well taken care of? Many states require that an owner provide for their animals or relinquish them within a certain amount of time after the death.
Advantages of Writing in Your Pet in Your Will
Having a will is an integral part of estate planning. However, when writing a will, you should also consider including a provision for your pet. The fact is, there are many advantages to doing so.
The most important part of including your pet in a will is making sure that someone who will be responsible for the animal’s care knows in advance. If someone suddenly inherits a pet they didn’t know they were getting, the person doesn’t have time to prepare or grieve the loss of the companion they just inherited.
Here are some of the other benefits you may gain by including your pet in your will:
1.) You can provide for their care after you have passed away.
2.) You can ensure that they have an opportunity to live in a home that is fit for them.
3.) You can make sure that they are comfortable and pain-free throughout their remaining years.
4.) You can provide them with love and attention while ill or injured.
5.) By having your pets’ needs addressed in your will, you can secure their comfort and care without the need for guardianship proceedings.
Legal Requirements for Having Your Pet in Your Will
There are legal requirements for leaving your pet in your will.
You must have had the pet for a certain amount of time and provided for the care and upkeep of the animal. For example, your pet should be predeceased by you rather than predeceasing you. The reason is, it is considered your property and, as such, cannot inherit anything.
If you seek to leave your pet to someone specific in your will, that person must also be willing to care for the animal. If they are not willing or able to care for this animal, they must agree to give it up to an appropriate party who can. Otherwise, they would be stealing from the rightful heir of the animal.
You should also make sure that whoever you decide to leave your pet to is aware of any additional expenses associated with taking care of it. If they cannot provide enough money every month, they might not have enough money set aside for vet bills and other costs associated with owning a pet.
You need to make sure your pet has proper legal identification. It is more than just a tag on the collar. Your pet needs an up-to-date rabies vaccination and a microchip with your contact information and other vital statistics if it is ever lost.
For starters, you must be aware of the legalities of probate and guardianship while writing your will. Depending on where you live, you may have fewer options than you think. For example, many states have statutes prohibiting unrelated persons from serving as guardians for young people. Things get even trickier when deciding who should serve as guardian for your pet if that person is in the same family tree as your chosen caretaker. It would be best to avoid all these potential problems by talking about this with an estate planning lawyer first.