According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are just over 86 million owned cats in the United States. One in three households in America includes at least one or more cats as part of the family. Unlike dog owners who are more likely to only own one dog, cat lovers, on average, own at last two cats. If you are a cat lover, have you given any thought to what will happen to your cat when you die?
As a general rule, people who own cats consider them to be part of the family. Some owners spend large sums of money on their feline friends while others simply make their cat comfortable. Whether you have a pampered feline or just a family pet, chances are that you want your cat to be provided for in the event that something happens to you. While you can always reach an informal agreement with someone and hope that works, including your cat in your estate plan is a better choice.
There are two ways in which you can include your cat in your estate plan—within your Last Will and Testament or by the creation of a pet trust. Using your Will allows you to leave your cat to a beneficiary as well as leave funds for the care of your cat to the same beneficiary. A trust takes the care of your cat a few steps further. By appointing a trustee and creating trust terms you can essentially dictate exactly how your cat will be taken care of if you die. Moreover, if you make it a living trust, the same terms will apply if you suddenly become incapacitated as well.