Like other responsible Floridians, you have a solid will or trust in place to protect your assets in case you become incapacitated, and to give your loved ones a respectable inheritance. However, you didn’t think to include Spot in your will. Your daughter and beloved pup love each other, so you assume that if you outlive your pet, your daughter will take over his care.

However, what if Spot has medical needs and a special feeding regimen your daughter doesn’t know about? What if your daughter moves away, has children who are allergic to dogs or is otherwise unable to care for Spot as you’d planned? You might consider leaving a note in your will about your dog’s care, or – even better – creating a pet trust to ensure he gets the specialized care you would want for any of your loved ones.

Pets are considered property, so you can’t leave them a will, as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explains. However, you can fund a pet trust and include specific instructions for Spot’s care, including the following:

  • The times of day Spot eats, as well as his preferred brand of food and how much to feed him
  • Spot’s medication schedule and dosage amounts
  • Veterinary contact information and checkup and immunization schedules
  • Your favorite groomer’s information
  • Spot’s favorite toys, walking routes and how he likes to play

You might even include a reward clause in your pet trust to financially compensate the person you designate as Spot’s caregiver after your death or incapacitation. And, of course, you would want to name a second and third choice in case your first choice is unable to care for your pet.

A pet trust doesn’t need to be complex or time-consuming to complete. However, as you may understand, creating a pet trust can give you peace of mind knowing that someone will take care of your furry family member just as you’d want for your human relatives.