South Dakota Estate Planning - Providing for your Pets in Your Estate Plan

Oftentimes pets become like our children. However, unlike your real children, you cannot leave money or property to your pets in your will. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make arrangements for your pet’s care after you are gone. Planning for your pet can be as simple as discussing your concerns with your family and friends and deciding who will be able to care for your pet when the time comes. 

A more formal arrangement may involve you leaving money for the care of your pet to the person who has volunteered to provide the care. Be aware that these funds would go to that person, but in this situation, there is no legally enforceable way to make sure they use those funds to care for your pet. They could gamble it away without recourse. The most formal option would be to set up a pet trust which would hold the funds you designate and pay them out solely to ensure the proper care of your pet. This would be legally enforceable and can pay out to your own beneficiaries or a charity after the pet’s death. 

Depending on the type of pet you have and its age, selecting any of these options goes a long way to ensuring your pet’s well-being for the duration of its life and provides you peace of mind as you age.