PET CARE AFTER YOU PASS
Our furry companions and other pets can be as important to us as our family and friends. For this reason, many people are extremely concerned about what may happen to their pet when they are no longer able to care for them.
How can you ensure that your pet will be well cared for the rest of their days, even if you are not around to provide that care?
In many cases you can assume that a friend or family member will adopt a pet left behind after a loved-one dies or must move into a care facility. However, Many people are not comfortable simply assuming that someone will agree to take their pet. When a pet is elderly and in need of special care, it can be even harder to trust that “someone” will step in.
When a pet is very elderly and frail, there is always the fear that relatives may feel euthanizing the pet will be better than finding a new home. If you would rather see you pet cared for as long as possible, it may be advisable to make more formal arrangements to guarantee that a beloved pet is well cared for as long as possible.
NAME NEW CARE-GIVER IN WILL
It is possible to name someone in your Will who you wish to take responsibility for your pet (It is best to ensure that this person is willing and able to adopt your pet before naming them). A statement in your Will makes it clear to all who you wish to adopt you pet. Providing this clarity can help avoid confusion and possible disputes.
MAKING YOUR WISHES KNOWN
As with many aspects of estate planning, it is always a good idea to ensure that your friends and relatives are aware of your wishes regarding what should happen to your pets after your death. Even if you have put plans in place, if no one is aware of those plans, they may not be put into effect.
If you have appointed someone to make decisions about your property should you become unable to manage, it is a good idea to ensure that this person is aware of what you expect of them when it comes to the care of your pet.
The more you can plan for the future of your pets and inform people of those plans, the easier the transition will be.
While it is best that you make someone aware of your wishes while you are still alive, you can also leave a set of written instructions for your executor or others, informing them of your wishes concerning the care of your pet.
OFFER FUNDS TO PERSON
One way you can make it easier for someone to take your pet, it to offer them a bequest in your Will in return for providing care. A bequest recognizes that anyone adopting your pet will be incurring costs.
The challenge is deciding what about is “reasonable”. A younger pet may need care for longer but may not have many medical or special care needs. An older pet may not require care for long but during that time the costs may be high as they may require special care and medical attention.
CREATE TRUST TO COVER COSTS
One way to ensure that a pet caregiver can receive funds to cover the basic costs of pet care as well as any special medical or emergency issues is to create a trust. You can appoint a trustee to provide your pet care-giver with a monthly payment to cover basic pet care costs as well as reimbursing them for expenses related to special medical care etc.
This way the pet caregiver can receive support for as long as they require it. They can take on the care of your pet without the stress or fear that they may be faced by a huge vet bill they cannot afford. The Trust can offer security for a care-giver a limited means.
If the pet does not live long, any funds reserved in the trust can be returned to the residue of your estate.
FINDING PEOPLE YOU CAN TRUST
As with any important task, you want to be sure that you are giving your pet to a person you trust will care for them well whether you provided them any funds to do so or not. Any funds provided by gift or through a trust should be offered as support to the new pet care-giver, not as an enticement to convince someone to take the pet.
If there is no-one in your life that you feel would be willing or able to adopt your pet and offer them the level of care you expect, you may have to turn to various agencies that can help you find a new home for your pet.
There are a number of organizations that focus on finding good homes for cats, dogs and other pets.
You can contact these agencies to locate one that you feel would provide the best care to your pe and make arrangements for them to take your pet when required and locate a new home.
You can also speak to your vet. They may be able to offer other options to locate a home for your pet.