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Super storm leads some in Texas to consider estate planning

Super Storm Sandy was a large weather event that ended with people across the northeastern part of our country suffering severe damage, including flooding and the loss of their homes. Though this storm took place far from Texas, the storm may have reminded many in our state of the importance of estate planning. This is because in some cases, the super storm left people unable to care for their property, including beloved family pets.

Many involved in the recent storm lost the ability to care for their pets. This fact has led to some pets being sent to animal shelters, even if their owners wished to continue caring for them or to have them go to another family member. However, one authority notes that proper estate planning could help make arrangements for such pets to be sent to guardians or others appointed to care for them should their owners become unable to do so.

The same authority states that, for some families, a pet trust may be in order. Though once thought to be only for the very wealthy, recently people of all economic levels have begun to plan for the care of their pets. Using estate planning tools such as trusts, these individuals can leave the care of a pet to a guardian and additionally leave funds for the animal's care.

There are estate planning tools that are available for every situation in Texas. For some individuals, planning for the care of their pet is important to them. For others, estate planning may be used for the distribution of assets or the appointment of a guardian for children. Regardless of the decisions made in an estate plan, it is important that all in our state consider the need to create such documents to ensure that their wishes for their property and loved ones are known after their deaths.

Source: Today.com, "Superstorm showed need for estate planning for pets," Jacoba Urist, Nov. 12, 2012

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