*Please note: The sanctuary is in the home of our director, Sher, and therefore can not make any commitments beyond what we currently have in terms of residents. We simply can not be part of any estate planning.
Many people plan for their retirement by saving money or plan for their family’s future by writing their will. Unfortunately, fewer people plan for the future of their pets in the event of illness or other dire events. Have you considered what you would do with your pet if you were no longer able to care for him or her? If you haven’t, you may want to come up with a plan to avoid possibly facing hasty decisions and heartbreak later on.
According to the Grey Muzzle organization, many estate planning attorneys are seeing more and more clients interested in pet trust planning. What does this mean? A pet trust essentially involves choosing two people who will ensure the care of your pet in the event that you cannot: a trustee and a caregiver. The trustee manages the funds set aside for the pet, and the caregiver provides the daily care for the pet. Pet trusts are enforceable by law in many states and they allow for very specific instructions as to how care should be provided and how money can be disbursed. Unfortunately, pet trusts can be quite costly due to lawyer’s fees and may not be practical for every pet owner.
A more informal, and less expensive, method of planning is to identify any potential family members or friends who would be willing to assume the care of your pet should something happen to you. It’s preferable to identify more than one person, if possible, in the event that the planned caregiver is also unable to provide care. Writing out a list of these individuals can be helpful in order to provide direction to others if you are incapacitated.
Another important planning step is to create what the ASPCA calls a “pet dossier”, or a document containing any pertinent information about your pet. You may know all the quirks and preferences of your pet, but writing them down on paper for others to follow could be invaluable. Providing information such as contact information for their veterinarian, information about their health and whether they are on any medications can be a potential lifesaver for your pet.
Whether you decide to pursue a formal method of planning for your pet’s future or a more informal approach, having a plan is the most important part. Please visit the websites below for more information about this topic.