The late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld adored his beloved cat, Choupette. Like many Illinois pet owners, Lagerfeld likely included providing for the welfare of his furry family member in his estate planning. His cat was like a fashion accessory and he rarely went anywhere without her. In fact, the feline has her own Instagram account, does a bit of modeling and has a coffee table book. The fashion icon’s death brings up the question of how pet owners should plan for the care of their pets should their pets outlive them.
About 85 million families in the United States have pets that are considered family members. As such, those who plan their estates may wish to give thought to making caregiver and financial arrangements for their pets — whether they may be cats, dogs, birds, lizards or any other creatures. Gifting a pet to a friend or family member doesn’t ensure the animal will be cared for. Those who want to make sure their pets continue to live happy lives should discuss care options with the people they are considering naming as guardians of their pets.
Pet owners may wish to consider establishing pet trusts for their beloved creatures. Typically, a trustee will look after the financial aspects of the trust, while someone will care for the pet. The amount of money that goes into these trusts largely depends upon the grantor and the age and condition of the pets involved.
Illinois residents who are thinking of including their pets in their estate planning, may wish to obtain legal advice on what steps to take. A lawyer will also be able to explain what happens to the trust when the pet dies. Getting this kind of advice may give a pet owner peace of mind knowing his or her much-loved companion will be looked after once he or she is not here to do so.