You should plan for your pets during the current pandemic.
Your pets are part for your family.
They are with you in the best of times.
They also support you in challenging times like the current pandemic.
Perhaps you have welcomed a new pet during your time in quarantine.
According to a recent The Harvard Press article titled “COA speakers urge pet owners to plan for their animal’s future,” you need to create an plan should your pets outlive you.
With so many unknowns in the midst of a pandemic, are you stressing over the future?
One concern is what will happen to your loved ones if you die.
While estate planning is essential for taking care of your property and your family, it should also include your pet.
So, how do you create a plan for your pets?
Decide who you would like to take over responsibility for your pet.
Be sure to discuss the details of the responsibility and ask up front if they would be willing to take on this role.
Do not assume they will agree.
You should provide this individual with the name of your pets, contact information for the vet, any medication instructions, the brand of food used, and quirks specific to your pets.
It is wise to make legal arrangements for your pets as part of your estate planning.
In addition to providing care instructions, you can leave money for the care of your pet.
Although pets can not directly inherit (they are “tangible personal property” themselves in the eye of the law), your can create a “pet trust” in certain states to hold funds for your pet.
This pet trust will be managed by a trustee.
It can even be accessed while you are alive so your pet will have continuous care if you are incapacitated.
For this reason, a pet trust is more desirable than simply including instructions for your pet in your last will and testament.
With a last will, the caretaker for your pet will have to wait until after probate to have the funds necessary to pay for food, medications, and veterinary services for your pets.
To plan for incapacity, you can utilize a durable power of attorney to allow a caretaker to use your financial resources to care for your pets.
Taking legal action now in your planning will help ensure that your pets have a comfortable future if something were to happen to you.
Reference: The Harvard Press (May 14, 2020) “COA speakers urge pet owners to plan for their animal’s future”