A little-considered part of estate planning redefines the traditional definition of heirs to include a group of family members that truly cannot be their own advocate: your family pets.

Not taking pets’ wellbeing into consideration can be a burden on surviving family members, not to mention, detrimental to the health and happiness of a beloved pet.

Some states are starting to take note of the issue. In 2006, Pennsylvania enacted “The Pa. Uniform Trust Act,” which allows pet owners to set up legally enforceable trusts to provide for the care and maintenance of a pet in the event the owner falls ill or dies.

Creating such a trust can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on the attorney.

Other steps pet owners can take? Identify someone to serve as caregiver, determine funds needed for the care and maintenance of your pet, and provide specific instructions for how a pet should be cared for.

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