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When You're No Longer There for Your Pet

Amend your will to ensure its care

Q. How can I ensure that my pet is cared for after I die?

A. Many people simply make informal arrangements with a trusted friend or family member. A surer way is to amend your will. Because pets are legally considered to be property, they cannot directly inherit anything. But you can name a human beneficiary as getting, say, $2,000 to care for your pet. For greater peace of mind, do what Leona Helmsley did for her Maltese, Trouble. Create a pet trust. You bequeath the animal and money to a beneficiary; a trustee monitors the caregiver to ensure your bequest is appropriately used for your pet's care. Consult an estate lawyer for details.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues. Have a question for Sid Kirchheimer about a new product, a new kind of bank account? Check out the Ask Sid archive. If you don’t find your answer there, send a query.

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