When we adopt a pet, we believe we will always be around to care for them, but pet lovers are far too often faced with the unexpected. Unfortunately, there are countless stories where pets were overlooked when their owners became hospitalized, passed away, or entered a nursing home. It is estimated approximately 500,000 pets are euthanized annually because pet parents didn’t have a plan for their pets. To prevent these unnecessary occurrences, it is imperative to develop a written action plan for your pet.
At The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, attorney and pet advocate, Peggy R. Hoyt is an expert in estate planning for pets. It is advised that you include the following provisions for your pets. Your written action plan starts with identifying at least two people, “pet caregivers,” who agree to be responsible for your pet if something happens to you. This includes incapacity, death, or natural disaster. These trusted individuals should have access to your home, care and feeding instructions for your pet, the name and contact information for your veterinarian, and written instructions for the long-term or permanent care of your pet. The individuals you choose can either be short-term, long-term, or permanent caregivers depending on the plan you intend to execute for your pet.
Compile a notebook of information detailing the “babysitter” instructions for each pet. These instructions should include a photo, identifying information, veterinary information, health records, feeding instructions, care requirements, etc. Assume your caregiver doesn’t know anything about your pet and you are leaving comprehensive instructions. This notebook should be updated periodically and kept in a safe place with your other important estate planning and financial documents outlining the instructions to take care of you, including Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Living Trusts, and Wills. Make sure to include provisions in your estate plan to detail your wishes regarding the care and disposition of your pets in the event of your disability or death.
Watch this video to learn more about provisions for your pets; specifically the importance of creating a pet trust.
Peggy founded Animal Care Trust USA, a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to one mission, “Keeping loved pets in loving homes.” Animal Care Trust USA offers a number of solutions designed to provide pet parents with their choice of long-term care options for their loved pets. These solutions include Forever Home, Forever Family, and Forever Sanctuary. In addition, Animal Care Trust USA is qualified to act as Pet Trustee and offers pet parents the Forever Loved Pet Trust. If you want more information about Animal Care Trust USA and solutions for your pet, call Peggy today.