We know your pets are part of the family, which is why it’s important to make pet care plans after the owner dies.
Although it is difficult to think about it, making arrangements will give you the peace of mind you need to make sure your pet has the same kind of loving care that it enjoys now.
There are both formal and informal arrangements you can make, and they each have advantages and disadvantages. Naming a pet legal power of attorney is one way to save money for your pets after your death. But there are other things we show you here, including what you can legally do to protect your pet.
Can I leave the money right away?
The short answer is no, you cannot leave the money directly for your pet. The good news is you can create some arrangements so that your pet will be taken care of after passing through. All of these options involve choosing a caregiver and leaving the money with that person (or organization) in a will or trust for the purposes of caring for your pet.
The two main ways to arrange pet care after an owner has passed away is to have an oral or written arrangement. First, let’s look at how to choose a pet groomer.
Choose a pet care provider
This step may be the hardest part because it can be emotional thinking about what will happen to your pet after its death. Additionally, it can be a difficult decision because you want to make sure that you fully trust whoever will take care of your pet. But you have it Pet insurance In the event that fur kids get sick, now you have to take this planning a step further.
If you have more than one pet, you can choose all of them to go one person or split it between different people. Choosing more than one person is a great option if you know that one person cannot or is not willing to care for multiple pets.
You can name whoever you want – your aunt, best friend, co-worker or other family member. It is a good idea to choose someone who has already interacted with your pet, is a known animal lover or has taken care of pets. Even if you only have one person in mind, choose some backups in case this happens. Make sure they agree to the arrangement.
Again, choose carefully as this person you take on will take full responsibility for caring for your pet, including making major medical decisions as well as day-to-day matters. You not only want to trust this person, you want them to be someone you know will do best for your pet.
Another thing to consider is finding a temporary caregiver in case the people you officially designated were not available at the time of your death. For example, your aunt just so happens to be on a week long business trip, but since you’ve named your brother up front for a respite, Spot will be taken care of until her return.
What if I cannot find a suitable caregiver?
It can be difficult to find someone who will be responsible for looking after a pet after the owner has passed away. Sure, there are many organizations like the Humane Society that will take your pet home. The shocking truth is that these places may not have space to house your pet, and it will not guarantee that someone will adopt it. If you go this route, you will probably want to look for an unskilled shelter.
In response, there are organizations across the United States ensuring that pet owners have a place to leave their pets when they cannot take care of them anymore. Keep in mind that these places will ask for a donation – think of it as money to use for your pet. Some of these organizations include Permanent pet care programAnd the Peace of mind for pets, And the Peace of mind dog rescue.
Make sure to do your research to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable organization and that you know exactly how much you will be donating. Additionally, you will need to assign someone to take care of your pet temporarily so that it can be transferred to the establishment.
Should I make formal or informal arrangements?
The main difference between formal and informal arrangement is that the latter is made verbally, whereas the former has a formal written agreement. As in, the formal arrangement will include some form of estate planning document (we’ll get to this later).
The main benefit of creating a written agreement is that you will be able to decide who will care for your pet, including directions on how to take care of it financially. You may have to pay a lawyer to draft the document, or there is a lot more Free online templates are available.
Informal arrangements are good if you trust the potential caregiver and have clearly stated your wishes. This may mean staying in regular contact with this person and making sure that they agree to care for your pet.
The downside is that financial arrangements can become opaque. You can leave the money for someone who cares for you in your will, but you cannot be completely sure that this person will use it to care for your pet. However, neither option is better than the other. Make sure you know what to do with whatever option you make to ensure your desires are implemented.
Choose the correct type of legal document
If you decide to create estate planning documents that outline your desires, one of the easiest ways to do so is to create a will or pet trust. In the will, you will name someone as the pet owner after your death and leave them the money. This way, that person will receive the money intended to take care of your pet and will be the legal owner.
However, a will cannot specify how the funds will be used. As in, a caregiver can use the money as they like (although it shouldn’t be a big deal if you trust them). You can create another document outlining your desires, but again, the caregiver is not obligated to follow them. These instructions can include how much to pay for certain costs, or how to temporarily care for your pet if it will take time to move it to its new home.
It may take weeks or more to resolve disputes related to your will. In the meantime, your pet may not be with the legitimate sponsor and there can be no money to care for it.
Consider a pet litter box
Another estate planning document, the Pet Trust, is a more specific tool that formally outlines a caregiver’s legal obligations towards your pet. You will name this person in the secretariat and provide instructions on how to care for your pet, leaving the money for that very purpose. This document was prepared side by side with your will.
Once you are dead or incapacitated, a pet caregiver will be named a guardian and will follow your pet box instructions. Everything stipulated in this document will be put into effect immediately, since your origins will not pass through wills or your desires for discussion.
Whatever type of document or arrangement you are in, it is a good idea to consult a legal professional such as a real estate attorney. This way, you can make an informed choice based on what is best for your pet.
Contributor Sarah Lee Cain is a personal finance writer based in Jacksonville, Florida, specializing in real estate, insurance, banking, loans and credit. It hosts Buzzsprout and Beyond the Dollar programs.