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What’s the best way to care for a pet after your death?

As you create an estate plan, you'll spend a lot of time thinking about what will happen to your loved ones after you are gone. For many people, this also means their pets.

There are many ways to ensure that your pets are cared for after your death, with these three options among the most common:

-- Pet trust. With this, you can put funds in a trust that are meant to be used for the care of your pet (and nothing else). There is no better way to ensure that your pet will be taken care of once you are gone.

-- Pet protection agreement. This is nothing more than agreement signed by you and the person you name as guardian of the pet. It may be legally binding, if created in the appropriate manner, but it's not as advanced as a trust.

-- Verbal agreement with a family member or friend. For example, you could discuss the care of your pet with a child or sibling. The problem with this is simple: The person may change his or her mind in the future, which means that your pet may not receive the care you had hoped for.

Your pet is a big deal to you, so it's essential that you take this into consideration when creating an estate plan. If you want to put all questions to rest, you can create a pet trust. Once this is in place, you can rest easy knowing that your pet will always be cared for based on your wishes.

Source: Nerd Wallet, "How Pet Trusts Provide Life Insurance Money for Pet Care," accessed June 28, 2017

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