Sunday, June 15, 2014

Is your cat included in your estate planning?

by Amanda L. Maus DVM
Catalina Pet Hospital
Tucson, AZ

As a caring pet owner, one has to plan for the possibility of not outliving their beloved pet.  No one likes to talk about this fact, but it is important to have a will to help your loved ones know what your plans are for your pets after your death. Without a formal plan, your pets may end up at a pet shelter and sadly may not get a new home.  Losing you will be stressful enough for your pet so please make plans to provide as smooth of a transition as possible for your pet.

Discuss with your friends and family who is willing and able to take in your pets after your death.  Create a back up plan so you have at least two people able to take in your pets.  If you are unable to find a friend or relative who can take in your pet, look for other options.  Here in Tucson, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, offers a Guardian Angel Program where pet owners can ensure lifetime care of their pet in a private home.

Determine how much money you can and will leave behind to help pay for the day to day expenses of pet ownership, as well as unforeseen medical expenses.  Sadly, you cannot leave money directly to your pet, but you can leave money behind to someone for the care of that pet.  Consider creating a formal trust fund for your pet's care, which will legally obligate your pet's new caretaker to use the provided funds to care for your pet. 

Please contact your lawyer to help make sure your will properly reflects your wishes for your pets.  Also consider including a donation in your will to help PAWSitively CATS continue their mission to take the best possible care of their cats. 

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