Estate Planning To Protect Pets
What will happen to Fido or Fifi in an emergency?
Reasons you may wish to update your estate planning documents to include your pets:
Responsible pet owners protect their pets in all circumstances during the life of their pet. Pets can out live you even when their life span is shorter than yours or you own a bird with a life span longer than yours.
Assuming “someone” in your family would take care of your pet, may not be in your pet’s best interest if that someone didn’t like your pet and couldn’t tell you or they are simply unable to take your pet due to changed circumstances of their own.
If you have no one who can take your pet and you believe your pet will just be euthanized because you are gone, consider an insurance policy to fund your trust to provide support for the continued care of your pet after you are gone.
Your personal feelings and experiences may be completely different than those who may or may not step in to care for your pet. Make your feelings known in a legal document to adequately protect your pet.
Do you own an exotic pet or other animal requiring specialized skill and knowledge, e.g., a reptile, African Serval, Savannah cat, bird, horse or miniature donkey?
Does your pet have any medical conditions, e.g., diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, or arthritis, requiring special medical care and you are unsure who will care for your pet when you are incapacitated or deceased.
Do you come home to your pet dutifully waiting for your return? How long will your pet wait before someone will come if you are not able to return home?
Pets grieve too in different ways. You can help minimize your pet’s grief by leaving detailed information for your pet caregiver of your pet’s habits and daily routine, favorite activities and toys, and special activities only you and your pet know about.
PLEASE REVIEW YOUR ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS TO MAKE SURE THEY PROTECT PETS TOO.
THIS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED IN DIFFERENT WAYS, INCLUDING:
1) UPDATING YOUR CURRENT ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS TO INCLUDE YOUR PETS;
2) DRAFTING A SEPARATE PET TRUST AND EMERGENCY PET CARE PLAN; OR
3) UPDATING YOUR FINANCES TO PROTECT YOUR PETS IN YOUR ABSENCE.
For a private consultation call (253) 238-6297.
Last Will and Testament. You can specify your desires for your pet’s future by leaving instructions to your personal representative on what to do with your pet.
Living Trust. A document used during your lifetime to hold property in trust for the benefit of another. Don’t forget to include pets – some pets are used for breeding and have monetary value and are considered an asset.
Emergency Pet Care Plan. Document used to appoint individuals in charge of your pets while you are absent and is used to leave detailed instructions for your pet’s care.
Pet Trust. In Washington, your pet is considered personal property. You may include in your estate plan a provision for the care and support of your pet or have a separate trust established to provide for your pet and when you are incompetent or deceased. Funding can occur at any time. A Pet Trust can be statutory, testamentary, or traditional.
A Statutory Pet Trust is enforceable because a statute has authorized the creation of it. It can be effective immediately or upon death. A Testamentary Pet Trust is created in your will and is effective upon death. A Traditional Pet Trust is created for the benefit of your pet, but has a human residual beneficiary, typically a caregiver, or an animal charity organization.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Document used during your lifetime to give a person you designate the authority either immediately or upon your incompetence to handle your health care needs. You can designate a caregiver for the care of your pet too.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. Document used during your lifetime to give a person you designate the authority either immediately or upon your incompetence to handle your financial needs and your pets.
REMEMBER TO PROTECT YOUR PETS WITH YOUR ESTATE PLAN.
WE CAN HELP YOU PREPARE A PET TRUST AND CARE PLAN.