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Are Your Pets In Your Will? Should They Be?

pets wills, owners death dogs, owners death cats, pet trust, estate planning for your pet

Who will care for your cute baby after you're gone?

My mother and mother-in-law both have the same ‘when I die’ talk from time to time, and anything can set it off. My mom could be talking about how she has to clean her jewelry that day, and then before you know it, she will say how my sister and I will inherit it, and did I know that this paper is in this place, and this safe deposit box has this or that, and I should know these things for when she’s gone. I honestly detest these conversations for obvious reasons. She usually ends it all with, and “please, you know you will have to take my Sha Sha,” (her beloved poodle/terrier mix) and “love her just the way I would”.

Of course, that’s a given.

But what about all the people that haven’t made provisions for their pets in their will or otherwise?

The Kansas City Star reports that a new and growing trend in probate law is pet owners “setting aside some – if not all – of their estates for the care of their beloved pets.” I think it’s a great idea.

Everyday, cats and dogs are surrendered to shelters because their owners died, and while it’s unpleasant to consider your pet being left alone, in many cases, that is what happens after an owner’s death.

I suppose the question is if you trust your loved ones enough to care for your pet. Who will really take your pet in and love them the way you did? If you can’t quite rely on anyone, maybe you need to set aside enough money and provisions (explicitly written out) detailing how you would like you pet to be cared for, or in other words, a pet trust.

Attorney David T. Pisarra who specializes in people and pets explains, “A pet trust is a legally sanctioned arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of companion animals in the event of the owner’s disability or death. As we see people having fewer children, we are seeing, societally, that they see animals more and more as their families.”

If you can’t quite find any one person to care for your pet, it might be time to think about setting aside money to a shelter, a veterinarian or an attorney for the care of your animal. Of course, there is a high level of trust in either situation that the person or institution will sufficiently take care of and use the money for your pet.

Do you have a pet trust? Would you consider one? Or will you rely on a family member to take care of your pet?

Image: Flickr

Follow Danielle on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest (where she maintains an ‘Adorable Pups’ board), or find her at her blog, Just Write Mom and Babble’s Strollerderby.

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