Of the many loved ones in our lives, there is one category that often does not receive enough attention in estate planning: our pets. And yet consider the comfort, joy, and companionship our pets bring us. Then consider something more ominous: What will happen to our animal companions after we pass away or become incapacitated?
This is why Florida pet planning is so essential for Florida residents who want to ensure their pets are properly cared for in the future. Without proper pet planning, our pets may go to new owners who do not properly care for them. Even worse, they may end up abandoned, in shelters, or euthanized.
Fortunately, Florida law recognizes that pet owners want to ensure their companions--whether canine, feline, or some other type of pet--are provided for. Accordingly, there are some essential steps that can be taken for Florida pet planning. And a Florida estate planning attorney familiar with pet planning can help you implement these steps.
What are the Primary Considerations in Florida Pet Planning?
Some of the primary stops in Florida pet planning are as follows:
Choose Pet Caregivers: Just as you would like to know who will care for your child if you no longer could do so, you will want to have the same knowledge for your pet. It is best to compile a list of people you trust to care for and love your pet. These could be family, loved ones, others close to you, or other pet lovers.
Create a Pet Trust: Under Florida law, a Florida resident can establish a legal trust to provide for the lifelong care of their pet. This step should not be undertaken without an attorney. The section below contains more details on Florida pet trusts.
Create a Pet Estate Plan: A comprehensive estate plan for your pet can set forth your intentions about the long-term care of your pet after you are dead or incapacitated. This may include a Durable Power of Attorney for Pet Care.
Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney: A Florida estate planning attorney familiar with pet planning can guide the way. In fact, for legal documents such as a pet trust or power of attorney, it is extremely inadvisable to attempt to formulate these documents without legal assistance.
How Can a Florida Pet Trust Help?
Florida statutory law specifically provides for pet trusts, see Section 736.0408. The trust can specify the person who will take over possession of the pet, usually the trustee. The trustee can use pet trust funds to care for the pet, which would include food, veterinary care, and other pet care expenses. In addition, the trust can provide care guidelines and specify conditions that will result in termination of the pet trust.
A Florida Estate Planning Attorney Can Assist with Your Pet Planning
To provide for the long-term care of your animal companion, consult with a Florida estate planning attorney who is knowledgeable about pet planning. Contact the Law Offices of Mark F. Moss to see how we can help.
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