What happens to a Georgia resident’s pet when the owner passes away? This is one question that many people forget to address during their estate planning. It would be beneficial for instructions regarding the family pet to be provided in order to make this issue less complicated during estate administration.
It is possible that a pet could outlive a Georgia resident. Before simply nominating someone to become the animal’s caretaker after death, it is important to discuss it with whomever might be appointed. Otherwise, the person listed in a will and/or trust might not be willing to take on the care of the pet.
The second consideration is whether that person will have the financial resources to pay for food, veterinary bills and other needs the animal might have. It is suggested that a trust be created from which these expenses can be paid on behalf of the animal. Using a trust will not only provide the caretaker with the necessary funds, but it can also provide the pet owner with the peace of mind the animal will continue to receive the same level of care it received while the owner was alive.
Making these arrangements will be one less thing that can complicate the estate administration. The executive can contact the appointed caretaker and trustee of the trust (which do not have to be the same person) if they are not already aware of the individual’s passing. Pets are considered property under the law, but since they are alive, it might be possible to make this distribution as soon as possible. This is also another reason to have funds available in a trust since they do not have to go through probate and can be made available immediately on the animal’s behalf.
Source: businessinsider.com, “There’s an aspect of estate planning too many people overlook“, Libby Kane, Nov. 7, 2016