Planning for your pet is critically important because your pets will never be able to care for themselves. You assume that family or friends will be responsible for your pets if something happens to you, but the reality is that many of these loved pets end up in shelters.
It is important to plan not only for the long term care of your pet but also for the short term care of your pet in the event of a disaster, your incapacity, hospitalization or during the time between death and the implementation of your will or trust.
A comprehensive estate plan designed to protect pets should include at the minimum:
- General Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters with specific provisions related to the care of your pet.
- Last Will and Testament with specific provisions for the care of your pets upon your death.
- Trusts (either living trusts created during lifetime, testamentary trusts created by your last will and testament at the time of death, irrevocable trusts such as insurance or charitable trusts).
The key to creating an enduring legacy for your pet is advance preparation, selecting proper “helpers” and participating in an estate planning process to insure your estate plan will work.