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Michigan residents may want to include pets in estate plan

When people sit down to decide what will become of their assets, they may think about bank accounts, homes, collectibles or even the fate of a family business. Many people already know that formulating a comprehensive estate plan is vital if there are kids involved. However, people in Michigan may not think ahead about what may become of their pets if something happens.

The fate of family pets is important because they are living creatures who need immediate attention and care. Unlike a car or home, a pet can't wait in limbo for months while decisions are held up in probate. Because of this fact, it is recommended that pet owners draft an immediate plan and even set aside funds to help secure the fate of beloved animals.

Having a pet included in a will is one option. For some who want to be extra-sure their pets are cared for properly, setting aside a trust fund is one alternative. Experts do caution that just because funds are secured and a party is named the new owner of a pet, there is still no way to legally force that party to care for or keep the pet once the formalities are handled. This means families and pet owners may want to think long and hard about the decision and be sure the party truly wants the responsibility.

An estate plan can be as complex and as individual as the people involved. Because of this fact, Michigan families and pet owners may benefit from advice and guidance as to how best secure the fate of pets, even in situations where a pet owner becomes incapacitated. Having a plan and knowing the pets will be cared for as a party wishes can give owners peace of mind.

Source:, Pets And Estate Planning, Keith Morris, March 14, 2014

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