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Ways to Include My Pet in My Estate Plan
Now it’s time to take the next step and make a commitment to your pet’s future well-being and help ensure they live their best life.
While we can’t guarantee that we’ll always be available to care for our pets, we can take the necessary steps to ensure they will always receive the love and care they deserve.
Pets Depend on Us
When your estate plan includes your pet, you create the necessary documents to ensure your pet is cared for according to their needs. Valuable documents like a Pet Information Sheet will provide your pet sitter with important care information when you are traveling. A Pet Power of Attorney gives a trusted friend or family member the power to authorize any needed care within the limits you choose. Finally, a Pet Trust ensures that finances are in place to care for your pet if something were to happen to you.
The One-Stop-Doc for Pet Care: The Pet Information Sheet
We are all aware of the stress and confusion that our pets experience in the event of a sudden change in circumstances: disrupted schedules, inconsistent food, and missed medications to name a few. A pet information sheet effectively removes any guesswork out of caring for your pet and gives you peace of mind knowing your pets will receive the consistent level of care to which they’re accustomed, minimizing their stress and maximizing their comfort.
A Pet Information Sheet is the go-to resource for all the important information about your pet’s care. It includes detailed information about your pet’s emergency contact, veterinarian, insurance, feeding schedule, walk routine, microchip, medical history, medications, and any other details you want to note.
Taking the time to list out all the essential information your caretaker needs to know ensures your pet receives consistent care and minimizes their stress.
Common items to include on a pet information sheet are:
- Food directions
- Medication instructions
- Daily walk/exercise schedules
- Veterinary information
- 24-hour/emergency vet hospital information
- Important numbers (e.g., microchip, license)
- Emergency contact
For Their Worst-Case Scenario: The Pet Power of Attorney
A Pet Power of Attorney is a legally binding document in which you appoint someone to make decisions about your pet’s care and express your wishes about the nature and cost of that care in the event of your absence or incapacity. Most importantly, a Pet Power of Attorney serves as the document your veterinarian will request to perform medical procedures in your absence, or in the event you are unreachable.
Why Should I Have a Pet Trust?
Like any other estate planning document, a Pet Trust is a legal instrument that gives you the power to provide care for your pets when you cannot. It also equips your pet’s new caregivers with the financial resources to continue their care, and allows you to set financial provisions, and appoint parties to manage the trust according to your wishes.
The Pet Trust gives authority to your pet’s Caregiver to carry out your wishes for their care in your absence. Should your pet need medical attention, you can detail what type of treatment you do or do not want and set limits as to spending. You can even provide instructions for end-of-life care, when to cease treatments, and burial or cremation arrangements.
Trustee, Caregiver, Trust Protector – What’s the Difference?
There are three appointees to designate when creating a Pet Trust – each having a specific role.
Here is a breakdown:
- Trustee – This is the person who manages the assets in the Trust. The Trustee is responsible for carrying out the terms in the Pet Trust and making sure the funds are being spent accordingly.
- Caregiver – You appoint someone you trust to take care and custody of your pet or animals. This person’s responsibility is to adhere to the instructions you provided in the Pet Trust and to care for all your pet’s needs. You may want to name a successor Caregiver in case your first choice is not available when needed.
- Trust Protector – This person serves as the watchdog of the Trust, making sure the funds are being used to care for the pet as instructed in the Trust. The Trust Protector is the voice for your pet and holds the Trustee accountable for responsibly managing the funds and terms of the Trust.
Naming Yourself as a Trustee
A Pet Trust is a must for all pet owners to provide seamless care for our pets in the event we are unable to be with them.
If you name yourself as the Trustee, which is typical, you can change your mind at any time and take out your assets as long as you have capacity – the ability to understand and make decisions.
The Trustee holds funds that you have placed in the Pet Trust for the care of your pet. You specify exactly how you want these funds to be spent by the caregiver: grooming, food, veterinary care, boarding, etc. You can also provide information concerning what type of food to feed your pet, when or where to take your pet for a walk, and any other routines.
View the webinar at the top of the page if you wish to learn more about ensuring your pet’s future.
Click on the link and enter to win a FREE Year of Gentreo and use Promo Code PETPLACE2022 for a 15% discount to Gentreo to take the steps to protect your pet’s future.
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