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Estate planning can involve the fate of pets

Many people have a clear idea of who they wish to pass on a house, family business or other substantial assets to. One area of estate planning many Nevada families may not consider, but should consider, pertains to the fate of pets. Anyone who has pets they consider part of the family should investigate options for ensuring those pets are cared for as part of the estate planning process.

Regardless of their role in a family or in a person's life, pets are still legally considered property and will be treated as such in a court of law. Simply stating that a person is chosen as the new owner of a pet may not be enough. That person may not have the ability or means of caring for a pet long-term.

One option that is becoming more and more popular is the creation of a pet trust. A trust designated for the care of a pet can be done as a living trust that is added to over a person's lifetime. That trust can include certain provisions for care of a pet, such as health care and nutritional care. There are tools available to help a pet owner determine what may be an appropriate amount to leave in a trust for a pet. It may be necessary to factor in specifics when it comes to more high maintenance pets or pets that live for long periods of time, such as horses and parrots.

The creation of a trust as part of comprehensive estate planning can give a person great flexibility and control over the fate of funds and how those funds are used. A trust created for a pet can help ensure a person's wishes for that pet are upheld. Picking a beneficiary for a trust for the care of a pet can be a highly personal and difficult decision to make; however, Nevada pet owners may want to inquire more about the benefits of a trust and how to begin one as part of their estate planning process.

Source:, "Estate Planning Basics: Creating a Pet Trust", Donald Liebenson, April 28, 2014

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