If you have pets, you probably see them as your family members, and you’ll want them taken care of like your human family. However, at the Bingham Legal Group PC, we understand that estate planning laws are different in regards to animals and people in Detroit. You can leave money and belongings to your human family members, but you would not be able to leave any of your estate to your pets. So how can you ensure that your furry loved ones are taken care of after your death?

According to AARP, a simple way to achieve this is to include your wishes regarding your pets in your will. For example, you can name your sister or daughter as the caregiver for your cats and dogs after you pass on. However, you would likely want to put some careful thought into your planning. You would first want to be sure the person you are naming as your pets’ next owner is both willing and able to care for your pets’ needs. It is a good idea to have more than one person you are considering, in case your first choice is no longer able to care for your pets later. You could also leave this person a sum of money in your will, with the hopes that he or she would use it for food, veterinarian and other pet-related expenses.

Having a plan in place for your beloved pets may prevent them from being abandoned, mistreated or taken to a shelter in the event you pass away. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that only about half of all dogs and cats taken to shelters are adopted back out into loving homes.

Next week we will discuss how you can use a trust to make sure your pets are taken care of. Learn more about planning for your loved ones, including furry and feathered family members, by visiting our page on wills.