"Most people think of their pets as family, so they don’t realize that they’re legally considered personal property … subject to division the same as jewelry, cars or furniture,” says associate Matthew Simenstad at Wayzata firm Sanford, Pearson, Thone & Strean. If you haven’t specifically accounted for your pet in your estate plan, it will be treated like any other personal property in the event of your passing.
A few practical steps to help ensure your pets are taken care of:
- Name someone you trust to be responsible for their care and outline that plan in your will or trust.
- Set up a pet trust, where someone will manage funds or other property you’ve set aside for your pet’s care (this can be “as basic as setting aside a sum of money and naming a caregiver, or as detailed as providing specific instructions regarding the care of the pet,” say the attorneys at Sanford).
Sanford, Pearson, Thone & Strean
1905 E. Wayzata Blvd., Suite 220, Wayzata