Nearly half of all households in the United States have at least one dog and 39 percent of households have at least one cat. We love our pets, and they provide us with plenty of love in return. Studies show pets also can reduce allergies in children, lower stress and blood pressure, and even make a person live longer. Tragically, however, shelters and veterinarians euthanize approximately 500,000 pets each year when their owners predecease them.
At Biddinger & Estelle, PC, we help pet owners ensure their beloved animal companions will receive proper care when the owner can no longer provide it.
The Pet Planning Process
The first step is to make certain your pet will have a secure home if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. Choose a trusted relative or friend who has the ability, and the desire, to care for your pet when you cannot. You should also choose a backup “guardian” just in case.
You’ll also want to plan for the expenses involved in caring for your pet, such as veterinary bills, quality food, and whatever else your pet may need. What is the best way to do this? Simply giving money to your pet’s caretaker may not be the best answer, nor is leaving money in your will. A pet trust could be the solution.
The main objective of using a trust is to provide a flexible method for managing financial assets for the benefit of a pet that survives you. The appropriate amount of money to fund the trust varies according to your pet’s age, condition, and needs.
With a properly designed trust, you can also designate a party to act as caretaker for your pet. You can name backup caretakers as well. In addition, your trust should provide detailed instructions to your caretaker. This can include everything from your pet’s favorite food and toys to his or her sleeping arrangements.
We have helped many pet owners plan for the future care of their beloved companions. If you are concerned about how your pet will be cared for when you are no longer able to provide that care yourself, contact us for a personal meeting. Our Michigan pet planning attorneys would love to talk to you about your pet’s needs and future care.