Members of the LGBT community have long struggled with problems relating to a lack of legal protections under the law. These legal protections are changing with time, but many LGBT people still take extra precautions when it comes to issues like estate planning. For LGBT pet owners who wish to ensure that their pets go to their partner, there are a variety of important steps to take.
Enter into a Domestic Partnership or Marriage
By getting married or establishing a domestic partnership, you will create a legally recognized relationship between yourself and your partner. This will help ensure that your estate--including your pet--will go to your partner, should you die without a will or trust for your pet.
However, marriage alone may not be enough to ensure that your pet is taken care of by your partner, should you pass away, and not all states offer marriage and domestic partnership rights to members of the LGBT community. This is why control of your estate, including your pet, must be designated in a legally binding document drafted by an experience estate planning attorney.
Get a Will
A will is one of the legally binding documents that will protect your pet after you pass away. If you wish for your pet to go to your partner when you die, your will establishes this in writing. Without a will, your estate (and pet) will go to the person or persons designated by state law.
Get a Pet Trust
While a will establishes who will have ownership of your pet when you die, a pet trust establishes parameters for your pet's care. A pet trust will stand firm even when a will is contested, which may be important if you and your partner have no legally recognized relationship.
Pet trusts are also useful because they allow you to set aside money to be used for your pet's care. This ensures that your pet will not be a financial burden for your partner. Since pet care is very expensive, pet trusts are very useful in this respect.
Planning for the future care of your pet is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Writing your pet into your will helps to clear up any confusion that could result in your wishes not being carried out after your death. For more information, contact an experienced estate planning attorney, such as someone from the Law Office of Tara L. Wolff, with a reputation for excellence in your community.