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Estate plans should include pet care arrangements

When Nevada residents plan their estate, they often stipulate what will happen to their home, personal possessions and financial accounts. However, many people fail to make arrangements for the family pet.

According to animal care advocates, responsible pet owners should designate a caregiver for their pets in case anything happens to them. An arrangement should be made for a friend or family member to have access to the house, vet information and care instructions in the event of an emergency. However, while a temporary caregiver may be able to help out after an accident or short-term illness, it is risky to assume they or anyone else will adopt a pet if the owner dies or is permanently incapacitated. No one may step up, and the pet may be placed in a shelter.

That is why a formal pet arrangement is necessary. Just as with children, a permanent caregiver should be selected and a trust or other legal document should be drawn up. Owners should not depend on a verbal agreement, as circumstances and plans may change for people over the years. To select a caregiver, pet owners should talk with friends and family about the pet's needs and designate a responsible and committed person who will always act in the best interests of the pet.

Nevada pet owners could find out more about a pet trust or other available options by speaking with an estate planning attorney. An attorney could help determine the best legal arrangement for the pet and draw up the appropriate documentation.

Source: The New Orleans Advocate, "Animal rescue: Plan who will care for your pets if you can't," Traci Howerton, June 21, 2016

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