Should You Put Your Pet In Your Will?

by | Mar 2020

A white and brown dog looks above the camera

Photo: Chris Emeott

In your estate plan or will, don’t forget about your furry and four-legged family members.

“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


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