The need for pet estate planning: What if you go first?

The need for pet estate planning: What if you go first?

Have you thought about pet estate planning or even heard of it? Six million animals enter shelters every year in the U.S. Many are strays, of course, but a full 30% are turned over by their owners. Many are given up because the people who loved and cared for them die or become too ill to continue.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

elderly couple looking at their dogs
Photo by Greta Hoffman on

Why pet estate planning matters…

Expressions of sorrow and condolences are all over the internet. Nearly all of our beloved animal friends have shorter lifespans than we do. Being there when they crossover is painful and more so because they count on us for survival.

Losing that doubles the hurt. When my cat Billy died, I found that I missed caring for him more than anything else.

Don’t let this happen to your loved ones…

When a dog, cat, bird or other pet dies, we ache for all they give us – in sweetness, companionship and, yes, the annoyances of animals being animals. But that’s just part of the story.

Turn the tables. What if you go first or become incapacitated? It happens many times every day.

What then? Will anyone be there to shelter, protect and feed them? Or, like so many, will they enter a shelter system where a difficult decision will be made without you?

The situation is not like it is with children or other dependents. No laws govern over who takes ownership, if anyone, and nobody inherits any responsibility. Your loved one’s future is handed to fate.

But you can make that far less likely, and that’s where pet estate planning comes in.

What if you go first?

This is a very important question that all pet owners should ask themselves. What happens to your beloved pets when you die?

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If you don’t have a plan in place, they might end up in a shelter or worse. That’s why it’s so important to have a pet estate plan in place. There are a few things you should consider when creating your plan.

First, you’ll need to choose a caregiver or a group for your pets. They will be responsible for feeding, walking, and generally taking care of them. You’ll also need to make sure that they have the financial means to do so.

It’s a good idea to set up a trust fund or something similar to make sure your pets are taken care of financially.

Lastly, you’ll need to decide what will happen to your pets if the caregiver is unable to care for them. There are a few options here, but it’s important to make a decision and put it in writing.

By taking these steps, you can rest assured knowing that your pets will be taken care of even if you’re not around.

Do it now. Talk to a pet estate planner today.

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