Don’t Forget to Plan for Your Pets


Why do otherwise doting pet parents fail to make such plans? Most people assume they’ll outlive their pets, says Barry Seltzer, a Toronto-based estate lawyer and co-author of Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs: How to Leave (Some of) Your Estate to Your Pet. And death and disability are topics that many people refuse to face.

In the midst of planning for your estate, there often can be a few members that get left behind unintentionally. Have you made plans for your furry, four-legged members? If something were to happen to you, who will care for your pets?

This subject was considered by The Humane Society in a recent article titled simply “Backup Plan.

What does a backup plan for your pet look like? Well, the answer is pet-specific.  Assuming you are not in the lion-taming business, then there are any number of simple things you can do. Beyond that, however, the key is to follow through and actually complete the necessary legal planning. Good intentions will do little for your pet, large or small.

The basic question is where will your pets go if you are gone? Perhaps you have a large number of family members or friends who are pet lovers. If yes, then you must narrow down the field of suitable candidates to appoint just the right person who can and will care for your pet. This can be tricky if you actually are a lion tamer, or even the owner of horses or exotic pets.

Something further to consider, especially in those outlier cases, is the expense of owning the pet. Will there be enough money to provide for the ongoing expenses of caring for your pet? Many pet owners are including “pet trusts” as part of their estate plans to provide for these ongoing expenses and to even compensate those who care for your pet.

If your pet or pets are an important part of your life, then take time to make proper arrangements for them as part of your estate plan. 

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