If you were leaving on vacation, you would carefully plan all the details for the care of your pets while you were away. Did you know that you can also plan for the care of your pets should you become seriously ill or die? This care plan can be added to your Estate Plan in the form of a Memorandum. While a memorandum is not a legal document, it can be used to set out your wishes for things such pet care, burial requests, or list your assets and digital information such as passwords, online accounts etc.
When planning for your pets, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. Depending on how many pets you have, you will need to decide if you want your pets to go together to one person, or if you want different pets to go to different people. Remember this will be a very stressful time of change for your pets, but you can minimise that stress by keeping bonded animals together.
When selecting guardians for your pets choose someone that you know has successfully cared for pets. Typically, this is a family member or close friend who is familiar with your animals. It’s also a good idea to name a backup caregiver in case your first choice becomes unable or unwilling to take your pet. You should also keep in mind that the new caregiver will have full control over the animal’s care, including vet care and euthanasia. Make sure you choose someone you fully trust to act with your pet’s best interest in mind!
You executor will have the responsibility of following the instructions in your will, so in your will you may want to authorize funds from your estate be made available for the temporary care of your animals. This allows time for their permanent care arrangement to be put into place, or in the event the person you named is unable to care for provides for them until permanent care is found.
You can also set up a trust for the care of your pet. When you set up a trust for your pet, you set aside money that is to be used for the care of that animal. You also specify a trustee that will be in control of those funds. The benefit of a trust is that it ensure funds are immediately available to look after your pets, as compared to a will which may take some time to be fully probated. A trust is created separate from your will and can also be specified to take effect if you become seriously ill or otherwise incapacitated.
After you have created a pet care memorandum and/or a trust, you should give copies to both your chosen executor as well as your pet’s designated care giver. You may also want to include pet health records, veterinary contact information and other informed needed to look after your pet. Be sure to stay in contact with your designated caregivers to update them on any health issues of your pet, and to ensure they want to continue to act as your pets future owner.
When making these formal arrangements for your pet’s care it’s a good idea to get professional advice from your lawyer. Your lawyer will be aware any provincial laws related to trusts, memorandums and Estate Planning for pet care. The Lawyers at Summit Legal Group love pets and are available to help with any questions you may have about planning for your pet’s future. To book an appointment contact our office at 587-356-0356, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org