Monday, June 24, 2024

ANIMALS 101 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE ANIMALS YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHEN YOU DIE?

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DO YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN FOR YOUR PETS AND ARE THEY INCLUDED IN YOUR WILL?

A Will may be the most important personal document you ever sign, because it governs the administration and disposal of all that you have striven for in life. It is not uncommon for people to make provision in their last will for all of their earthly possessions but do you have a plan for your pets if you should fall ill or die? 

There was a long line of individuals to assist with people like the Queen’s dogs, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most humans. We have seen first-hand the confusion as these animals arrive in shelters and have to try to cope in kennels. Often being split up or waiting long periods of time before being adopted or eventually just humanely killed because there are just not enough homes with this massive overpopulation crisis.

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Pets and your Will – Image by The Paw Company

SOME OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

There are basically 4 options:

  • Forever home – Leave them in their own home and a caretaker moves in.

Some people let a caretaker move into their home and keep the pets where they are familiar with everything.  It could be for some time or until their death. Just make sure there is no “incentive” to get rid of the pet soon. Have an arrangement with a short-term caretaker like a pet sitter until your affairs are sorted or a long-term one (vetted properly). Always have back-ups…..at least 3 back-ups!

  • Forever family – Adopt them to a new family (if your family will not take them) through a reputable organization. Donate to them for doing it.
  • Forever Sanctuary – There might be special organization for this, especially for older pets. Donate to them or even consider leaving your estate to them.
  • Opt for PTS

You know your pets best.  One of mine for example would not easily adjust to a new home or person due to anxiety so in our will the instructions were to PTS. If your pet has a disease or might be diagnosed with one, be specific about when you want euthanization or what sort of treatment or measures you want to be taken. If your pet needs frail care after your death, I would lean more towards PTS unless they can go to a special organization that deals with frail care like a sanctuary.

Appointing your trusted Veterinarian to carry out euthanasia within a certain amount of days from your passing is always an option if no family member or friend can take your pets. Read more on euthanasia preparation.

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Pets and your Will – Image from Pixabay.com

FUNDS FOR CARE

When you leave money for the care of your pets, make sure that it is enough for the species and breed.  Older pets require more funds for vet care.  Take your regular expense for your pet and multiply that by an extra-long life expectancy.

You can create a PET TRUST where you choose trustees who will honour your wishes and manage the funds for care. The Trust can manage the funds and check-ins with the caretaker. Be very specific about vet checks, what the funds may be spent on, or pay the caretaker on a monthly budget.  Ideally, the trustees should not be the caretaker or even a family member.  Some people leave all their property and money in this Trust. You can also consider an animal welfare organization to manage the above and in return donate to them too. Choose a reputable one that has been around for some time.

LEAVING A LEGACY

Apart from taking care of your own pets, you can also help ensure that animals are protected in years to come by including the SPCA or other reputable animal welfare organizations as a beneficiary in your Will. They can use your gift effectively to assist all species of animals, uplift their lives and improve their welfare in whatever situation they find themselves. Please note that if you do this for an SPCA, you have to mention that SPCA specifically otherwise it will go to the national fund and not directly to them.

Just like you would not leave a child alone when you are hospitalized or evacuated, you should not leave an animal either. You chose to have them, they didn’t get to choose you as their owner and you are responsible for this living being. Read more about having an emergency plan for your pets.

Please make provision for your pets so an already overwhelmed animal welfare organization doesn’t have to. Talk to a company that specializes in estate planning for pets! Remember pets grieve too for their human and furry companions.

Also read why you should not keep exotic/wild animals as pets PART 1 and PART 2.

Next week we will look at the practice of muzzling dogs.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!