Don't Forget to Plan for Your Pets
What will happen to your pets when you die? If you do not have an answer to this, or if the answer that comes to mind terrifies or saddens you, then we need to talk about ways to include your pets in your planning! Estate planning is about all family members - even those of the four-legged variety!
Roughly 65% of all American households include at least one pet. While I don't have specific numbers of how many of those households have responsible plans in place for the care of their pets upon their death, I dare say it isn't the majority.
So, what does pet planning look like?
It could be as basic as writing out instructions detailing how your pet should be cared for - what food your pet eats, where she likes to be scratched, how often she is walked, the vet she sees, her medical history, her favorite toy, etc.
You may even incorporate special powers into a Power of Attorney so that a person of your choosing can make pet-care decisions in the event of your disability. Those powers could even extend to letting the Caretaker stay in your home to care for your pets while you are incapacitated.
It could be mean naming the Caretaker who will take in your pets for the rest of their natural life once you are deceased.
Pet planning could also mean setting aside money in a trust to cover the costs of your pet's care so there is no financial burden for the Caretaker in taking in your pets. This is a great way to make sure your pets don't end up in a shelter or "the pound" because they had the misfortune to outlive their owner.
The nature and level of planning needed is greatly dependent upon the type of pet involved. For example, planning for horses is more complicated than planning for a cat or dog. We would love to work with you to make sure all members of your family are taken care of!