Pets are a central and vital part of their owners' lives, and it is statistically well-documented that seniors and people with health issues derive substantial benefits from their pets. However, pet owners often do not consider what will happen to their pets if they die or become disabled. Many older people do not have pets because they are concerned about who will care for their pets if they become disabled or die and their pet survives them. Often, older people would like to have a pet companion and would benefit from acquiring one or keeping the one they already have. If potential pet owners knew that there were methods of arranging for the security of their pets, they might feel more comfortable acquiring pets. Until recently, pet owners encountered legal barriers when trying to provide for their pets' care after the owners became unable to care for their pets. Fortunately, recent statutory developments in most states have removed these obstacles and pet owners can now create legally recognized and enforceable instruments that provide for pet care in the event of the owner's disability or death. This article explains how estate planning practitioners can guide their clients in the creation and use of pet trusts and pet protection agreements, as well as how to draft wills with enforceable provisions concerning pet care. Finally, this article alerts practioners to specific considerations when drafting pet trusts, including how a pet trust is taxed.

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