For pet owners, incapacity or death can mean that they are no longer able to fulfill their responsibilities to their companion animals. Many pet owners are rightly concerned about what will happen to their animals after they are gone. This is a valid worry because pets do end up in shelters or otherwise uncared for when their owners have to go into a nursing home or a hospital, or when their owners pass away.
The good news is, you can be a responsible pet owner and take some simple steps to ensure that your companion animal will always have a safe and stable home, even if something happens and you are no longer able to provide that home.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide comprehensive assistance with the pet planning process to pet owners throughout the state of Vermont. Give us a call in Vermont at 802-879-7133 to learn about the personalized services that we can offer to pet owners and to get answers to questions you may have about the pet planning process including:
- Do I need to create a plan for my pet?
- What should I include in my plan for my pet?
- How can a Vermont pet planning lawyer help me?
Do I Need to Create a Plan for My Pet?
You need to create a plan for your pet if you have taken on the responsibility of caring for any animal. While many seniors are aware that there is a risk their pets will outlive them, the sad reality is that this could happen to any pet owner. Your animal should not be left to face an uncertain fate if you suffer an illness, injury, or untimely death.
The pet overpopulation problem has made it difficult for animal shelters and for rescue groups to ensure that every pet has a home. It can be especially difficult for an older animal to be adopted, especially if the animal is separated from its owner for the first time after many years and shows signs of fear as a result.
If your pet is not able to find a home and you have not made provisions to ensure your animal has a home, your companion animal could spend months or even years in a shelter or could be euthanized. No pet owner ever wants this fate for their animal who has become a member of their family and who has brought so much joy to their life. By making a plan in advance, you can guarantee that this does not happen and can provide your companion animal with the stable home that is deserved for the joy and enrichment the animal has brought to your world.
What Should I Include in my Plan for My Pet?
Your pet plan could begin and end with naming a guardian who is going to take on responsibility for the animal if something happens to you. The guardian should be someone who you can count on and who has the capacity to care for the animal. It is a good idea to speak with the person and let them know you will be entrusting the care of your pet to them so you can ensure they are willing and able to take on the responsibility.
It is also a good idea to name a backup guardian just in case the person who you had originally selected passes away before you do or otherwise becomes unable to assume the role of caring for your companion animal.
It is also possible to take additional steps beyond just naming a guardian for your pet. Vet care and other costs of caring for a pet can be a significant financial commitment. You may wish to leave a trust in order to provide for your animal. Your trust document can specify exactly how the money is to be used and the trustee will have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the cash is used for your intended purpose to provide the best life possible for your pet.
Additional helpful information can be found on our Pet Planning FAQ page.
How Can a Vermont Pet Planning Lawyer Help Me?
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC understands the importance of providing for a pet and we will help to ensure that your pet plan will allow your animal to get the best care possible. Our Vermont pet planning lawyers offer assistance to clients statewide, including in Burlington, Essex Junction, Montpelier, Rutland, White River Junction, St. Johnsbury and Newport.