When you make an estate plan, you need to think about how you can ensure your plan protects your loved ones who are depending upon you. As you make your plans, do not forget important members of the family who are wholly reliant upon you for survival: your pets. Unlike children, there are no automatic safeguards set up for pets to make certain they are appropriately cared for after a death of their caregiver. If you want to make certain that the safety and security of your pets is protected following a death, it is up to you to do that.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help you to make a comprehensive pet plan as a part of your estate planning process. Our legal team can assist you in using the right tools designed to help ensure your death or incapacity won’t leave your animal companions vulnerable to an uncertain future. Give us a call to find out how a Vermont estate planning lawyer can assist with the pet planning process.
How to Make Your Pets Safe in your Estate Plan
The most important component of pet planning as a part of estate planning is the process of ensuring that all of the pets you own will have homes to live in if they cannot continue to live with you. If incapacity sends you into a hospital or nursing home care, or if you pass away, your pets are going to need somewhere to go and someone to take care of them. You can select who that person will be by making your pet plan.
You should talk with your close relatives and friends who could take care of your animal and find someone who you trust and who is willing. You can then name that person as a chosen guardian for your animals. Because uncertain things could happen and your friend or relative’s circumstances could change before your death, you should also have a backup trustee who you can specify the animals should be placed with if your first chosen guardian becomes unable to care for the animals should the need arise.
You can also make certain financial plans to provide for your pet’s needs, even after you have passed away. You can do this by leaving money in a will that the pet’s caretaker can use, but this gives you little control. You could also make use of a trust, in which you name a fiduciary to follow your instructions. The fiduciary will be bound to do as you wished, using the money and trust assets to care for your animals.
Why is it Important to Think About Your Pets in you Estate Plan?
It is imperative that you think about your pets when you make an estate plan because it is possible no one will think about their fate if you get sick or pass away.
The ASPCA reports that approximately 41 percent of cats and 31 percent of dogs who go into an animal shelter are euthanized. Many of the pets lose their lives simply because there are not enough homes. If your pet ends up homeless because of your death, this could lead to your pet dying in a shelter. You cannot take a chance of this, especially if your pet is older or has health issues that could make pet adoption difficult.
If you make a pet plan and you provide instructions for your pets to go to a designated guardian, you should not have to worry about whether your animals will end up in a shelter. By providing financially for your pet’s care, you can take an additional precaution to ensure that the pet is safe since the pet’s new owner will never have to give up the animal due to difficult financial circumstances.
Getting Help from A Vermont Estate Planning Lawyer Today
At Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC, our legal team knows that your pets are a part of the family, and we provide the necessary guidance to help ensure that your pets are cared for in the event that something harms you. Your incapacity or untimely death do not have to doom your animals to a risky and uncertain fate if you act while you are still healthy and able to make sure the pets are provided for.
To find out how a Vermont estate planning lawyer can help with incorporating pet planning into your estate planning process, download our free estate planning worksheet. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to find out more about the ways in which Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can assist you.