We Love Our Pets! They are a special part of our families and hold a place in our hearts that will never be replaced. We dread that day we know will someday come, when they are no longer physically with us.
But what if the roles are reversed? What if our pet is left without us? Who will care for our beloved pet? Where will they live? Do we have a backup plan?
As Humans, we have wills that outline what are wishes are but what about our pets? Only about 9% of pet owners, have provisions for their pets’ care which may result in their beloved animal ending up homeless or in a shelter in the event that an owner can no longer care for their pet.
So what should pet owners do? Make a plan!
Creating a ‘Pet Protection Agreement’
This is an important decision, so get together with your friends, family members, or neighbors, and talk about what you want to happen to your furry, feathery, or scaly family member. To ensure your wishes are carried out, a written, legal will is the best option; or to be more exact, a “pet protection agreement.”
These legal agreements can be easily made, and is the “layperson’s document … establish(ing) care for companion animals.” Many family attorneys, trusted advisors (accountant, trustee, insurance representative), or even online legal sites can help you prepare this document. The most important part is determining exactly how you want to care for you pet. It does not have to be fancy or expensive. It just needs to be clear.
A pet protection agreement is valid during your lifetime and beyond, and can help ensure that your wishes are carried out upon your death, or upon physical or mental incapacitation. This pet specific document is designed based on the current laws that pets are considered “property” and takes into account that property disbursements dictated in wills cannot always be legally enforced. Make sure your family, friends, neighbors, and future care takers are aware that you have prepared a will, or that provisions have been made, and that they have access to a copy.
In cases where you wish to set up financial compensation, or a “care trust” for your pet, you should seek the advice of a lawyer who is familiar with wills and trusts. Most family law offices are capable of working in provisions for pets and will be able to guide you on logistics and state laws.
Make Sure Your Vet Knows Your Plan
Your veterinarian has the authority to make medical decisions. You should inform your vet and provide written instructions on file for your wishes. This way, your vet will be able to act upon any immediate health concerns your pet may have while permanent options are being worked out. Most vets will only need a written letter kept on file, informing them of your decision and listing who you have chosen to act as caregiver.
At Agee’s Pet Crematorium, we provide these services. We can provide a Will or mandate (Power of Attorney) for these types of arrangements. Our fee to prepare a simple Will (Testament) is $300. Please give us call at 504.362.3311.