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Be sure to include your pet in a prenuptial agreement

When putting together a prenuptial agreement, it is important to be very thorough to ensure that no piece of property is left unaddressed — especially property like a pet, which few people remember to think of as "property " in the first place. Creating a fair, well-crafted prenuptial agreement that provides for your pets is a helpful way to prepare for how your marriage will consider your pets and ensure that, even in a worst case scenario, your animal family members are properly provided for.

Pets exist in an interesting realm of estate planning. On the one hand, they are certainly property in a legal sense. However, unlike most other kinds of property, pets require very specific daily upkeep and interaction, much like a child does. A prenuptial agreement should address not only who gets a pet in a divorce, but also how the division of property and assets will provide for the pet's ongoing needs.

Also, a prenuptial agreement may also address the interesting issue of pet custody and visitation rights. For many couples, especially those who do not have children, a pet is central to their relationship, and may become central to their divorce. A responsible prenuptial agreement makes sure to establish fair guidelines for how the pet may remain in the noncustodial spouse's life, if that is a concern.

If you are ready to create a prenuptial agreement that truly addresses your needs and concerns, don't wait to consult with an experienced attorney. Proper legal counsel helps ensure that you don't waste time creating an unenforceable prenuptial agreement, and keeps your rights and privileges in mind as you work to create the right agreement for your relationship.

Source: Hometown Life, "Take your pet into account on financial planning," Rick Bloom, July 20, 2017

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