When you create a will to distribute your assets to your heirs after your death, you may wonder how to include your pets. If you are one of the many New Jersey residents who do have pets, it is essential to make sure your estate planning accounts for their care after you are gone. Along with including instructions for your pet’s care in your will, you may also consider creating a legal trust. 

There are several aspects to consider when deciding how to provide for your pet in your estate planning, such as naming a guardian and allocating funds for your pet’s care. While it may seem that you should simply distribute funds to your pet in your will, it may be better to establish a pet trust. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a pet trust is a legal arrangement you may use to care for your animal companions after your death. You may also use a pet trust to provide instructions for your pet’s care if you become disabled. When you establish a trust, you may indicate how you want the new guardian to feed and care for your pet. You could provide instructions for veterinary care. Part of creating the trust is naming a trustee who will manage and disburse the funds as necessary to the guardian. Generally, the trustee and the guardian should be separate people. You may also want to name a successor for each role and another beneficiary in case the pet passes away before the trust runs out. 

This information on estate planning is intended for educational purposes; it should not be interpreted as legal advice. 

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