In Illinois, 48.6% of households own a pet. (Surprisingly, Illinoisans are in the bottom 10% of pet ownership!) Pet owners prioritize the care and well-being of their pets, and more and more people want to protect their pets after they are gone and provide financial resources to care for their pets in their estate plan.
Illinois law provides pet owners an opportunity to create a pet trust, a legal arrangement to care for your pet. The Pet Trust Act permits people in Illinois to create trusts for the benefit of one or more of their companion animals through their estate plans:
Concerned pet owners can now set aside funds for the care of their animals, and can designate a trustee to manage the fund for the care, support and medical needs of their pets. They also can name the physical custodian of their pet.
As a dog owner, I want to be sure Max is protected after I’m gone and designate funds for his care. Here are some tips on estate planning for pets in Illinois.
Your pet trust instructions should include the following information:
1. Who do you want to care for your pets after you’re gone or are physically unable to care for them?
2. What is your designated caregiver’s contact information?
3. What are the instructions to the care of your pet, such as their food schedule, preferred brand, medications and vaccinations, vet information, etc.
4. How can your designated pet caregiver access your home to retrieve your pet?
5. How much money are you designating for the care of your pets?
To make sure that your pet is protected after you are gone and that your wishes are followed, ask your estate planning attorney to include your pet care as part of your will or pet trust, or to create another legal document to provide for the care and ownership of your pet and the money necessary to care for your pet.
To provide for your pet when you no longer can, it’s a good idea to make a legal arrangement in your will or a pet trust. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you ensure your pet is cared for when you no longer can.
For help setting up a pet trust or for other estate planning assistance, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5832.