Anyone who has ever seen an episode of The Dog Whisperer should be well aware that Americans have anthropomorphized their pets to unprecedented levels. By bestowing human emotions upon our pets, and behaving as if they are just people in a fur suit, we have attached ourselves to them to such a degree that it is fairly commonplace for people to include provisions for their pet(s) within their estate plans.
Do you feel that your pet is more like a member of your family that you would like to provide for when you die? If so, are you aware of the different estate-planning options that are available for you to do so?
One such option is a pet trust, which allows your pet to be the designated beneficiary of the trust. As with virtually every trust, you can place certain conditions upon the administration of the trust, such as what kinds of toys your pet is to be provided, veterinary care, etc. And, unless you live in Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota or Mississippi, your state has enacted some sort of pet trust law.
Another option available to you is a pet protection agreement, which allows you to dictate the care your pets will receive in the event that you are unable to care for them because of death or incapacitation. As far as cost goes, a protection agreement is less expensive than a pet trust, but it also provides your pet with less protection.