For many of us our pets are truly members of our family.  Whether a “traditional” pet like a dog, a cat or a horse, or a “nontraditional” pet like a snake, duck or llama, we care for them much like we do our human family.  And many of us are concerned what would happen to our pets if something happened to us (death or incapacity).  Would someone care for them or would they end up in a shelter?  Who would care for them?  How would they care for them?  And would they treat them the same way we did?

Well, guess what?  You CAN plan for your pet’s care if something happens to you and the way to do it is through your estate plan.  Michigan is one of the growing number of states that recognizes the care we have for our pets and provides a way for you to plan for their care if you aren’t able to care for them yourself due to incapacity or death.

You can plan for your pet’s care by setting up a Pet Trust with Lichterman LawAlthough unique to each family and pet, there are a few general requirements for Pet Trusts:

  • It must be for a domestic or pet animal
  • A Pet Trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the Pet Trust
  • None of the Pet Trust’s principal and income can be used for anything other than for the benefit of the covered animal(s), unless otherwise stated in the Pet Trust

We can create a plan that ensures your pet is cared for how you want and by who you want.  Why wouldn’t you set up a Pet Trust so all your family members are cared for?

Contact us if your pet is a member of your family and you want to make sure they are cared for properly if something happens to you.

Michael Lichterman is an attorney specializing in estate planning and helping provide peace of mind to families and businesses throughout Grand Rapids and West Michigan.  He specializes in “whole family wealth” planning for professionals with minor children, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children) – and does so from a Christian perspective.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.