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Planning for Pets

Including Pets in Estate Plans Is Easier Than You Think

“We’re responsible for providing love and care to our pets, along with a healthy environment that allows our pets to live their best lives,” remarks experienced Loveland attorney Steve Wolterman. “And this includes making plans for pets beyond our own lives.”

A comprehensive estate plan, Steve says, is important for anyone. “Obviously, getting your assets to family members and those you love is important,” he says, adding that estate plans also incorporate crucial end of life directives, the power of attorney, and other considerations.

But a well thought-out estate plan, he continues, should also include concern for the pets we love and care for.

“Often, people feel like it’s overkill—or even silly—to formally discuss making plans for their pets in the event of their passing,” he says. But Steve begs to differ. “After all, most of us adore our pets, and it’s very easy to make some simple arrangements that will ensure that they’re loved and taken care of for the remainder of their lives.” 

“If we’re in the process of setting up a will or even a trust for other purposes, such as a trust for children, it’s easy to include instructions for a pet.”

There are, of course, some guidelines to keep in mind. “In Ohio, we can’t leave money or property directly to pets,” Steve explains. “Pets are considered property, and you can’t leave property to other property. But we can leave our pets to a named person or organization that will take care of that animal, and we can leave money to the person receiving our pet.”

Steve fondly recalls a childhood pet of his own, his dog Trixie, who joined the family while he was in grade school. “She is as prominent in my memories as any other family member or experiences I had growing up,” he smiles. “Trixie was by my side for so many years—always happy to see me—and couldn’t have been more loyal to me and my family.”

“Pets can fit into any estate plan, simple or complex,” Steve continues. “I don’t advocate creating a complex estate plan to solely meet the needs of planning for pets. But whether you have a simple will and are using beneficiary designations to create efficiency in the transfer of assets, or you’re utilizing trusts to transfer assets, simple instructions and allocations of funds can be made in either to take care of your beloved pets.” 

The Wolterman Law Office moved to Loveland nearly a decade ago, and offers services such as estate planning, tax and business matters, general business matters, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury, product liability, and business litigation. “I love meeting people, and feel lucky to be able to help so many wonderful individuals and families in our community,” Steve says.

And, while certainly a legal specialist, Steve considers himself a friend and sincere animal-lover at heart, first.

“I think the old adage ‘man’s best friend’ is true in so many ways. Pets absolutely impact our lives for the better, and can be incredible companions.”

For more information about estate planning (or to receive a free consultation about any of Wolterman Law Office’s other services), simply call the office or visit their website. | 434 W. Loveland Ave, Loveland | 513.450.3039

  • Trixie and Steve’s Stepsister, Cassie
  • Trixie

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