Most people plan their estates with their family and close friends in mind. They want to make sure their loved ones are taken care of. However, one ‘loved one’ which is commonly overlooked during estate planning in Florida and elsewhere is the family pet. With the onset of the recent Hurricane Sandy, many people have been forced to think about what to do with their family pets in the case of a disaster or accident. There are a variety of tips which many estate planning experts suggest when dealing with the family pet.

One thing a pet owner can do is to obtain an animal card, which contains basic information regarding the pet. This would include the animal’s name, the type of animal, address, and any other specific instructions to care for the pet. The document is usually carried with a person’s wallet. The card will allow authorities to properly determine what they should do in order to care for the pet.

Another action for a person to take would be to put their pet in their will. Leaving a pet with somebody can help to make sure the animal is safe after its owner dies. However, one should realize this is not a foolproof method, since wills are commonly contested. Even if the contested issue does not involve the pet provisions, it can still delay the case in probate court, including placing the pet with the intended caretaker.

Of course, the family pet may be one of many estate planning issues that most people must deal with in Florida. Those planning an estate will also have to decide what assets to leave to whom, which can also be included in the will. In addition to a last will and testament, other estate planning vehicles may be considered, such as the various types of trusts available. However, one must be sure to gather as much information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each type of estate planning option.