If you have a dog, cat or other pet, you know that the unconditional love and affection our pets devote to us improve the quality of our lives in ways nothing else can. This is why they deserve our respect and dedication even after we pass away or become incapacitated.
Unfortunately, if a pet owner becomes unable to care for his or her pets they often end up living on the street. Thousands of pets are orphaned every year in the United States. To prevent your pets from adding to this sad statistic, you need to plan now for their care in the future.
One way to do this is to include your pets in your estate plan. This can be as simple as incorporating provisions for them into your Will or Living Trust. A Durable General Power of Attorney will allow an agent of your choosing to spend funds that have been allocated to your pets as he or she sees fit in the best interest of your pets.
The income is made available as ongoing trust funds or as a gift given directly to the agent.
The first, and often easiest, way to make sure your pets are cared for is to include a request that your pets be placed with a willing friend or family member, in the same way you would appoint a guardian for a child. In addition, most states allow for money from your estate plan to be set aside for the benefit of pets so that there is minimal, if any, expense for your pets’ caretaker.
Another option is to appoint a trustee to care for your pets. This trustee can either keep the pets in his or her own home or find someone else with a suitable, loving home to serve as caretaker. This type of “pet trust” also provides the trustee with funds to be used for the pets’ benefit.
If a suitable trustee is not available, you may want to research local animal shelters and adoption centers. If sufficient funds are allocated for the care of the pet, some locations will accept pets that are donated through trusts and care for them until a devoted home can be found for them.
We can guide you through the steps necessary for making sure your pets are cared for once you are no longer able to provide for their needs.
Contact me to set up a no-cost consultation to discuss the options.