The reality is that you never know when you’re going to pass away so the truly responsible course of action is to have an estate plan in place at an early age, especially after you have anyone relying on your income. This having been said the average lifespan in the United States as of this writing is 78.4 years, so by the time you have reached that age or older if you were to pass away most of the loved ones that are closest to you are likely to be completely self-sufficient. What you are leaving to them is certainly likely to enhance their lives, but they are long departed from the nest so you can feel comfortable that they will be able to care for themselves once you are gone.
However, you may well have a family member or two who are not capable of taking care of their own affairs, and these would be the ones of the furry, four-legged variety. Estate planning can be such an emotional and complicated affair that it’s easy to overlook some of the details, and making sure your pet is properly provided for can be something that slips through the cracks.
The first thing that you need to do is identify someone that you would like to see caring for your pet if you were to pass away. Once you have identified a willing caretaker that you are comfortable with you must address the financial aspect. One way that this can be done is by simply leaving a bequest to the person who will be taking care of your pet that is sufficient to provide for the animal for the rest of its life.
In the state of Missouri it is also possible to create a pet trust for the benefit of your animal. The best way to have the appropriate documents drawn up and decide on the best course of action with regard to the legalities involved would be to arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney who will explain your options to you in greater detail.