If you follow our page on Facebook, then you know our beloved Chief Morale Officer, Octavia “Tavey” Antczak passed away peacefully on Monday, June 25th after a brief illness. A good friend died a couple weeks later, and I envision Tavey greeting her the same way she greeted clients in our office for years.
Releasing them from pain is the greatest gift we can give them, and it’s truly the worst part of owning an animal. It’s almost always an agonizing decision. But taking care of our fur babies (or shelled, or hooved, or scaled…) is something we agree to do when we take on the responsibility of ownership.
So let me ask you, have you provided for your beloved pet in your estate plan?
Tavey came to the office frequently and loved greeting clients. She was always a people-dog. She’d pretty much do anything to be with her humans. And if her humans couldn’t be there, we pre-arranged with friends to look in on her, or doggie day care for longer periods. We take care of our pets in the same way we take care of our children.
In making plans to care for your pet, here are the two key areas to consider: who will make sure your pet is taken care of in an emergency and who will take care of your pet when you pass away.
The first situation to consider is when an emergency prevents you from getting home. Someone should have access and know there is an animal that needs attention. That means making sure the day care or boarding facility has emergency contact information for someone in addition to you. You’ll also want to carry animal caretaker identification close to your In Case of Emergency information.
The second situation to consider is when you pass away. You’ll want to make sure you’ve designated who should take responsibility for a pet. In the same way you leave insurance to help raise your children, you can include a cash gift to help offset the costs of continuing to care for your pet.
And it’s not enough to assume “one of the kids” will take your pet. You should consider whether or not children might argue over the pet, or possibly not want the pet for reasons they haven’t shared with you. It’s especially important to designate someone if you know none of your children would want a pet, or if you don’t have children.
And of course, for the discerning pet owner, yes, you can even leave a trust fund for your beloved pet. Certainly this option isn’t for everyone, but it can be the right tool in the right situation – think horses and tortoises – animals that quite frequently outlive more than one generation.
Whether you’ve got an estate plan in place or not, we can help you with Pet Care Plan. If you’re a member of our Most Trusted Advisor program, estate plan updates to provide for pets are free. No matter what your situation, feel free to reply to any email from us, or use the Contact Us box to let us know you’d like to protect your pet and we’ll take it from there. Easy peasy.