Care for Your Pet Can Be Incorporated into Your Estate Planning

Most people care a great deal about their furry friends and consider them family members, which is why estate planning for your pets is so important. One of the easiest ways to accomplish your planning needs around your pet is by using a pet trust. An estate planning attorney can help to draft this for you, and this is particularly important if you have animals who you suspect may outlive you.

Birds are an excellent example of a type of species that can outlive their human counterparts, and the trust drafted by an estate planning attorney can be tailored to you and your pet’s needs. The trust operates in the following manner. You are responsible for putting money in the trust for the care of your individual pet or multiple pets. You might need to identify relevant sanctuaries or people to care for the animal on your behalf. estate-planning-pets

Put sufficient funds inside the trust in order to compensate the person or a sanctuary for veterinary care and food. You can also specify who is eligible to receive any money that is left inside the trust when the pet passes on. This can give you a great deal of peace of mind that your loved one will continue to be cared for.

It can be an unfortunate situation when your beloved pets cannot be cared for by your family members, putting your furry loved ones at risk of having to go to a shelter or an area they are unfamiliar with. Putting together a pet trust can allow you to earmark funds specifically for your pet’s individual care, and also specifies if the animal passes away before those funds are needed, who is eligible to receive those assets. This gives you confidence and peace of mind that even if you are no longer able to care for your furry friends, someone else will.

Why You Should Plan for Your Pets

The estate planning process can be as complex or as simple as you need, but one fact remains: make sure you don’t overlook something. Missing a planning opportunity can create many problems down the road, including those for your pets.

One of the aspects of estate planning often covered is that doing comprehensive planning protects your loved ones because you minimize confusion and help your beneficiaries get access to their assets quickly. However, your will and basic estate planning does not cover your pets unless you specifically share your intention to do this with your estate planning lawyer.

A pet trust is one of the most effective ways to address the needs of your pets. In addition to sharing your intentions with your lawyer and talking with anyone who you would like to step in and care for your pets if something happens to you, a pet trust can financially provide for the needs of your fur children. While no one expects to suddenly suffer from a disability or to be killed in an accident, this situation can be traumatic enough as is for your pets. Ensuring that you have a plan in place to have them provided for is important; it can help to minimize the challenges they experience after something happens to you.

A pet trust is even more important for an older pet or a pet with existing health concerns. Setting aside the time and money to address these needs is critical for your pet’s future. Reach out to a New Jersey estate planning lawyer today to talk options.

Lessons from the Joan Rivers Estate

Joan Rivers was heralded as a stellar performer, but she also left behind a legacy as an incredible businesswoman. Her estate included income, collectibles, and real estate that was estimated in value between $150 million and $250 million. She left behind detailed instructions for her assets after her death, which is rare in a society when many celebrity deaths highlight the weaknesses of their estate plans. Photo Credit:

Looking at her careful planning, there are a few key lessons: be prepared for the unexpected, outline plans for pets, and correctly title the assets. Joan Rivers was also masterful in giving her family a brief overview of the estate plans to help improve clarity and reduce the possibility of arguments. Rivers made use of family trusts to reduce the tax burden for her beneficiaries and titled her assets

appropriately to allow for the smooth transition of business assets. This act alone helped to diminish her capital gains taxes.

Regardless of the size of your estate, proper planning allows you to pass on assets to your heirs in the most efficient manner while minimizing the tax liability. Contact our offices today for a consultation for your business and personal needs through email at or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455.

Long-Term Care for Your Cat

All too often, cats are surrendered to animal shelters because their owner either died or had to enter a long-term care facility where the cat was not allowed. In order to avoid this fate, a recent article argues that cat owners need to have a long-term care plan in place for their pet. Importantly, this care plan can be simple and easy to create.

The first step in creating a long-term care plan for your cat is selecting a trusted friend or relative who may be willing to care for the cat in your absence. Discuss your designation with that person to make sure that he or she is up for the task. If you have an estate plan, you can insert a clause that gives your cat, and some money for its care, to the designated caregiver. If you do not have an estate plan, you can simply make a care arrangement with that person.

English: Portrait of a female feral cat (Felis...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In your will or care arrangement, be sure to outline your cat’s routine. This may include feeding and exercise habits. Also include all medical information, including your cat’s veterinarian, where his or her medical records are located and any current medications.

Importantly, provide the designated caregiver with a spare key to your home or apartment. This will allow the person to enter your home if you suddenly become incapacitated. Finally, be sure to set some money aside for your cat’s care. When determining how much money to provide, consider that your friend will need to pay for food, veterinarian bills and any other necessary care expenses.