Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, September 20, 2019

Why Client's Dog Should be in the Estate Plan

PetsA proper estate plan should consider every aspect of a client's life, not just their children and their home. If the client has a pet, having someone ready and willing to look after them is crucial.

Pets can be a crucial and emotional facet of a person's life, so having an executor who can handle the estate quickly is prudent. Melanie McDonald, Vice-President and Regional Director, Trust & Estate Services, BMO Private Wealth, comments that, “Then they should have a longer-term plan of who can take care of their pet for their lifetime in a will or in a power of attorney. It’s important to pick a couple of people because depending on timing, the first person may not be able to take care of the pet."

Even the nicest or most charitable friend many not be willing to take care of another person's pet for free, so it is important to leave money to provide for the animal's needs during their lifetime. "Pets have day-to-day expenses, and food and vet bills. Then people can also give a little extra amount as a thank you gift for taking on that responsibility," McDonald explains.

Having the money placed in a purpose trust can give the pet owner more control instead of just bequeathing their friend a certain amount of cash with the instruction to provide for the pet. "If you are giving somebody responsibility, you want to make sure that they agree to it and are able to handle it.”

See James Burton, Why Client's Dog Should be in the Estate Plan, Ottawa Retirement Planner, September 18, 2019.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink


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