How to Create a Will With Your Dogs

by Laura Wallace Henderson
A will allows you to provide instructions regarding your dogs.

A will allows you to provide instructions regarding your dogs.

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Making out a will allows you to designate where you want your assets to go when you die. A will also allows you to include instructions for your minor children, providing an opportunity to designate whom you want to serve as their guardian after your death. You may also use your will to provide for any pets you leave behind. An attorney can explain the estate planning laws in your state and can provide valuable information regarding the inclusion of your dogs in your will.

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Step 1

Talk to the individuals you want to designate as your dogs’ caregivers. Let them know your wishes and ask them if they are willing to provide the care and attention you desire for your animals. Knowing your chosen caregivers are willing to serve as guardians will help make you comfortable with your decision.

Step 2

Create a formal will that lists your assets and your directives for dividing your belongings. Provide specific information regarding your wishes concerning your dogs. List your dogs’ names, ages and breeds, especially if you want your executor to separate them when you die.

Step 3

Specify which dogs you want to go to which individuals or organizations. Include information concerning the care you want your dogs to receive from their new caregivers. Designate an amount of money to provide for the care of your dogs. The AARP suggests you consider the financial future of your pets. Include enough money to cover your dogs’ normal living expenses, such as food, shelter, occasional boarding, toys, treats and veterinary visits. Provide enough money to cover the cost of possible injuries and illness, especially for older dogs and dogs with existing health conditions.

Step 4

Follow the laws of your state for signing and executing your will such as having others witness your signature on your will. Make a copy of your will and place the original document in your safe deposit box or other safe location. Let your executor know where to locate your will and your pets in the event of your death.

Step 5

Update your will whenever your pet status changes including the death of your pets or the acquisition of new dogs. You must observe certain formalities such as including your signature and the signature of your witnesses on any amendments you make to your will.