What Happens to Your Pets if/When You Die?
If you have pets, my guess is that you love them as much as you do your children. However, I’m also guessing that you have not provided any written or, better yet, legally binding instructions about what should happen to them if you become incapacitated or die. If you haven’t, read on. It’s time for you to take action! (And – shameless plug – we can make it easy for you to do right by the animals you love with a pet trust.)
Questions to Answer About Your Pet’s Care in a Pet Trust
Let’s start by looking at what happens if you become incapacitated or die and you’ve done nothing to ensure the well-being and care of your pets. It may be that if you do nothing, your friends and family will step forward to take care of your pets. But, will the person who steps forward be the person you would choose? And, will they be able to easily afford to care for your pet, in the way you do? Do you want them to assume the financial burden of supporting your pets?
- Will they feed your pet the same food you do?
- Will they be able to spend as much time and energy with your pet as you do?
- Will they be able to offer your pet the same quality of life you do?
Do you care about these sorts of things? Your should.
If you do, you do need to take action. You cannot simply leave the well-being of your pets to chance. If you don’t designate at least one person, and ideally a backup to care for your animals, provide instructions to the people you’ve named, and allot sufficient money to support the care of your pets, they could become a burden to your friends and family. By leaving these elements up to chance, it is possible that your animal companion may be brought to the humane society. A pet trust goes a long way in showing your animals you love them.
Essential Steps For Creating a Pet Trust
When establishing a pet trust, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow. (Second shameless plug – we can guide you through the process to ensure that nothing is overlooked.)
1. Designate who will care for your animals
Step one in all circumstances is to legally name the people you would want to care for your pets, in the event you cannot. You should name these people in your will, and also in a “pet power of attorney” providing for your pet’s care in the event of your incapacity.
2. Give Specific Instructions for Care
Step two is to give the people you’ve named specific instructions about how you want your pets to be cared for if you cannot do it. These directions should include veterinary contact information, types and amounts of food, any medications needed, exercise plan, list of allergies and other medical information, and any other special things you know about your pets that any caretaker should know.
3. Offer Financial Resources
Finally, step three of creating a pet trust is to consider whether you need to provide financial resources to care for your pets. If your pet has any special needs, or if you want to provide funding for training, regular exercise, or a certain kind of food or care, it’s up to you to provide the financial resources to the people you’ve named to take care of your pets.
Pet Trust Planning for the Care of Your Pets
The way to provide funding for the care of your pets is through a pet trust and additional provisions of your estate planning trust. Planning for their life after you are gone is much easier with estate planning lawyers like Lexern Law Group. (Third shameless plug.) Whether you have a pet trust already or not, meeting with Lexern Law Group to learn about pet trust planning strategies will help preserve the quality of life to which your animals are accustomed.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is it a substitute for, a qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article from Lexern Law Group, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.
This article is a service of Lexern Law Group, Ltd. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love.
You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.