Including your pet in your will – Part 1

After taxes, the only other certainty in life is death. And when we die, whether it happens suddenly and unexpectedly or we see it coming, we need to provide for those under our care – including our animals.

In America, the Humane Society has a “fact sheet on caring for your pets whether you die or even if you are temporarily incapacitated. The sheet highlights the importance of planning ahead, and gives pointers on how to make the appropriate provisions for your pets – whatever your age and whatever your circumstances.

Some of the important points and some things you may want to consider in the short-term are:

1) Select at least two caregivers.

Perhaps the most important decision to make is who will care for your pets when you cannot. It may be a simple decision – one of your children, a good friend, a caring neighbor – someone you trust as well as someone your pet knows and trusts would be the obvious best choice.

Hopefully you will have a volunteer, someone who loves your animals as much as you do, who will be happy to care for your pets when you are unable to. Unfortunately, with more people loosing touch with their families and becoming isolated from neighbors, there often isn’t anyone that we feel we can rely upon in a crisis. Whether you have someone in mind or not, it’s important to plan ahead and ensure you have SOMEONE who is willing to step in, when necessary.

The Humane Society suggests you select at least two people, in case the primary choice is not able to fulfill their obligations. I would also suggest making arrangements with your veterinarian and/or a local kennel to provide temporary care if necessary, as well as contacting a local rescue group.

2) Alert rescue workers.

I have a note on the door to alert the local fire department that I have pets, but what if I’m in a car accident or collapse in the grocery store? What if one of my dogs is with me?

Another common-sense recommendation is that pet owners carry a “pet-alert” card, with details on the number, type and location of pets, including instructions on care and where a spare key can be found. Information on your veterinarian (in case your pet is injured) and contact details for the designated care-givers should also be included.

3) Consider a trust fund in addition to a will.

A will alone will not necessarily provide for your animals – wills don’t take effect immediately, which may leave your pets

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