Estate planning can be tailored to the needs of the individual to accommodate what he or she uniquely wishes to be done after their passing. Regardless of if an individual comes from substantial or modest means, everyone can hugely benefit from taking these preparatory steps. There are many things that an individual must consider in thinking about and planning for what he or she would like to happen to their assets. An attorney can walk an individual through every aspect from deciding who gets what, to the tax implications of each decision.
However, an aspect that is often over looked when many individuals are drafting estate planning documents is pets. What do you want to happen to Fido when you are no longer there to care for him? Pets are a very significant companion for many people, and most feel more peace of mind knowing that their pet will be provided for after their passing.
According to a study commissioned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, only 17 percent of individuals in the Los Angeles area and around the rest of the nation have taken legal measures to address the needs of pets after the owner's passing. A representative for ASPCA says, "Millions of companion animals are surrendered to shelters each year, some because their owners did not establish continuing care for their animals in the event that they were unable to do so."
The good news is that an attorney can guide an individual in appointing a caretaker for their pet. An attorney can also assist the individual in ensuring that money is left to the caretaker to provide for the wellbeing of the animal. Pets are not the only things that some individuals commonly forget to address when planning for the end of life. To ensure that no detail is overlooked, it is best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Source: Consumer Affairs, "What happens to your pet when you die?" Mark Huffman, Jan. 18, 2013