Planning for your Pet’s Care

While pet owners unquestionably love their pets, and tend to see their pets as members of the family, the law sees things differently. The law looks upon pets as chattel or property, which presents a problem when trying to plan for their future care and welfare in the event that you are no longer able to care for them.

Ultimately, the problem with pets comes down to this: given their status as property, pets can’t own anything, and can’t be gifted anything. In other words, you won’t be able to bequeath any of your finances or property to your pets. They are still living thing things who need to be fed, sheltered, and cared for, but without rights or legal status of their own, this can become difficult to arrange.

At Yeti Law, your Legal Sherpa® team understands the bond people have with their pets and the desire to ensure they are taken care of in the event of death. You’ll be relieved to know that this is hardly an insurmountable obstacle, and your Legal Sherpa® has the experience and tools to help. A big part of estate and forward planning at Yeti Law is the focus on you, your concerns, and your life relationships. We use tools to develop an understanding of these relationships, and we will help you find the most suitable living situation for your pets.

Who Will Care for Your Pets?

Caring for your pets becomes an issue of planning, and making appropriate arrangements with those you trust. This requires making decisions as to who is best suited for the long term care of your pets, but it also requires communication, as you will need to ensure that those you select to care for your pets are both willing and able. Your Legal Sherpa® can help you make all the necessary provisions, which in most cases will be covered by language included in your Will to leave the necessary funds for the long term care of your pets to someone who has agreed to provide your pet(s) a good home. This will need to be sufficient to cover food, upkeep, and any other pet-relate expenses that may come along, including health and veterinary expenses that may arise later.

As with any estate or forward plans you draft, Yeti Law believes strongly in the periodic review and (if need be) revision of those documents. Plans you make for your pet are no different. Friendships and relationships change, and health can diminish, so those you initially chose to care for your pets may no longer be best suited or even willing to do so. With regular review, you can be certain that your pet’s future welfare is assured.

Legal Sherpa® Tip

Keep medical records, veterinary information, and the names and contact information of the people you trust with your pets in a place where your Estate Trustees and Attorneys can readily access it.