I have three beloved border collies (ages two to five) and I’ve been recently diagnosed with 3rd-stage lung cancer. Should I include care for my dogs in my trust just in case I pass before they do? I ask because my sister in Scottsdale told me that if I did nothing, the dogs would be euthanized a few weeks after my death.

That is a lovely consideration for your furry family members. Illinois does allow a trust for domestic or pet animals. It’s covered under the Pet Trust Act (760 ILCS 5/15.2).

Alternatively, you can make a direct bequest in your will. Your pets are considered personal property and they can be left upon your death to a friend or family member. You can also specify the amount of money to take care of your pet(s) and provide specific instructions.

Bear in mind that should you become ill or have an emergency situation, this provision in your will does not provide for the care of your pet. Your will does not take effect until your death.

There are a few organizations that specialize in long-term care of pets of deceased owners. These organizations may agree to foster your pet and to find a new home. Be sure to visit them and discuss your plans together and what fees or donations are required.

Contributor: Ron Webb