Many Massachusetts residents have pets that they consider part of their family. Some may love their pets as much as their children, and others may only have pets to dote on. Whatever the case, most pet owners do not want anything negative to happen to their animals, which is why it is important to consider them when estate planning.

If a person becomes incapacitated or passes away, the risk exists that the pet’s care could be left up to chance. If loved ones cannot care for the animal, it could be sent to a shelter or end up being put down. Fortunately, owners can account for their pets’ care by setting up a trust that provides funds and instructions for the pets’ future care. Certainly, pet care can be expensive, but a person may be better able to care for the pet with funds left behind from the estate.

The trust can even detail how the person wants his or her pet cared for. The owner could name a specific person to take over the care of the pet later or detail other instructions for the pet’s future. Because trusts are legally binding, the trustee has an obligation to carry out the specified instructions.

No one wants their pet’s care to be left up to chance. As a result, Massachusetts residents with pets may want to include them when estate planning. Discussing with knowledgeable attorneys specific trusts and other tools that can ensure the future well-being of pets may help concerned pet owners feel more at ease.