In addition to providing for their spouses and children, clients are sometimes concerned about the care of their pet. They want to ensure their faithful companion, their pet, is taken care of after they pass on. There are generally three pieces to the puzzle.
- The Person. The person you choose must be someone you trust to is ready and willing to specifically care for your pet. Preferably it should be a child or friend that is familiar with your pet, and who has experience caring for pets. Remember, your wishes are for this person to care for your pet, not give your pet away to a shelter etc. Therefore, it is generally best to ask the person in advance if they would be willing to care for your pet.
- The Fund. Determine the amount of your estate to be used for care of your pet. Take into consideration your pets current age and the cost to care for your pet per year and including grooming, medical, medicine, food, toys, boarding, emergencies etc… Determine what gift you might like to make to the person caring for your pet, if any. It can be an annual stipend, it can be a fixed lump sum. You can add the unused balance of a fund set aside for your pet’s care to the gift for your caretaker. Or you can make a single gift to the caretaker, without a separate fund for your pet, relying on your caretaker to provide for your pet.
- The Care. Detail how you would like your pet cared for, and the specific needs of your pet. Typically, such as that they be given a place to sleep inside the house, their diet, grooming, exercise, and veterinarian care needed.
While planning for a pet may not seem a priority, if you fail to make accommodations prior to your passing, your pet could ultimately be turned over to the state or local animal control board.