Pet Estate Planning- Caring For Your Fur Babies

 

“Bella is my baby I can’t imagine what might happen to her if I’m gone. And what if I just got in an accident and couldn’t make it home? Who would take care of her? Who would even know that she’s there.”

When You Live Alone

June lives alone. she’s been divorced for a while and has a grown daughter. But her daughter lives in another city. Furthermore, they don’t have the strongest relationship.

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Plus, June told me Carrie doesn’t really like animals.  “I can’t understand that. But that’s the way it is. So, I have to think about other arrangements for Bella. After all, I’m her protector and she deserves the best.

A lot of people who live alone and worry about what will happen with their pets when they are gone. Unfortunately, all too often people have not made any plans or arrangements. They assume they will outlive their pets.

Let’s face it life is uncertain.

Whether you are 30 or 80, things can happen. And if you’ve taken on the responsibility of a pet then it’s your responsibility to make sure that they’re taken care of in the event that something would happen to you. And you can’t always expect the family to swoop in and take over.

“When my mother-in-law fell,” Kathryn said “We had to take in her cat. I really didn’t want or need another animal. But it was the right thing to do. And no one else in the family would do it. So, my husband and I took Callie and cared for her for the next 9 years. We really didn’t want to but we did.”

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Not everybody has someone in their family who would do that. If you do that’s great. But have a talk with your family ahead of time. Make sure you know who is willing and who is not. And if nobody is really willing then you’ve got to think of other arrangements. Where would your pet go? Who would care for them?

When Keith Didn’t Answer His Phone

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Elaine called Catherine concerned she hadn’t heard from her friend Keith in over a day.

 

“It’s not like him,” she said “We always call each other each morning. He’s not answering and I’m worried. I’m afraid to go over there” Elaine said

 

She was concerned that Keith might have passed away. At 89 years old it was definitely a possibility. So, Catherine got her husband, Bob, to go and check on Keith. Elaine had a key so he could get in.

Keith Was In Trouble

Keith wasn’t dead but he did have a stroke. He was laying on the floor in the hallway. And his two dogs were snuggled up next to him clearly distraught. The person they love was not doing well. An ambulance was called. But now came the question, what to do about his to beloved pets?

A Plan Was In Place

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Luckily Keith had already made a plan. The place where he boarded them when he went on vacations had already agreed to take care of them. Furthermore, if Keith passed away or could no longer care for them they would find a home for both of his fur babies.  Keith even paid for a month in advance to ensure that is two sweet angels would be well taken care of.

 

Furthermore, he had set up a trust account. This would be for any medical bills they may have in the future. Whoever adopted them would not have to worry about the expense. He clearly thought of everything.

Peace of Mind

Keith spent the last 6 months in a nursing home. But he did not have to worry about his beloved pets. In fact, the couple who adopted brought them for visits once a week and made sure Keith had plenty of pictures and videos.

 

A Few Steps To Protect Your Pets (or Fur Babies)

 

  1. Make sure that you have information in your wallet to let people know that you have a pet at home. If you were in an accident, someone would need to check on your pet. Print something up on card stock. Make sure contact information is included for the person who can enter your home to take care of your pet.
  2. Does a friend, relative or neighbor have a key to get into your home? Luckily Keith thought ahead and gave Elaine a key. This made it easier for someone to check on him and his fur babies.
  3. Talk to your family. Do not assume they will take care of your fur friends. What other options are there? Who could help? Have a plan in place like Keith did.
  4. Have a sticker on your door and window to let EMS know there is a pet inside. Have contact information on your refrigerator so they know who can care for your pets.

 

Consider adding a provision to your estate plan. This is especially important if you have exotic animals or pets with special needs. After all, your fur babies are your family too. Make sure they are well taken care of.

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