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When Your Pet Outlives You: Protecting…

When Your Pet Outlives You: Protecting Animal Companions After You Die

by David Congalton

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Who will care for your animals after your death? If you are fortunate, family or friends will do so. The specifics should be part of your estate planning; you should not take anything for granted. People may not be able or willing to take on the responsibility for your pets.
After the death of an owner, beloved pets may be dumped at a shelter or tossed out of the house or even euthanized. Old cats that have only known one home and one owner, wind up sitting in a cage, bewildered and depressed. When someone comes to the shelter looking for a pet, they are going to adopt the young, outgoing cat, not the depressed animal sitting in the back of her cage. If it is not a no-kill shelter, the feline survivor will soon be euthanized.
To avoid this, you need to plan. If you are lucky, you’ll just need to discuss this with your family and friends. You probably should include a provision in your will. If you don’t have people that you can depend on to take care of your animals, you may need to set up a trust or make other complicated arrangements. Many states have specific statues for establishing a Pet Trust. Besides your companion animals, don’t forget any other animals that depend on you: livestock and any other farm or domestic animals. If you have stray cats that you feed, try to find someone to help you who will continue when you are gone. The same goes for birds who need your feeders to get through the winter.
You cannot just leave money or anything else to your pets. Animals are not ‘persons’ legally. Only humans or corporations can inherit directly. And no matter how much money they have, they’ll need people to spend it for them.
If you leave money to a dog, you will be considered crazy (or eccentric, if you were rich enough). Anyone who challenges your wishes in court will succeed. On the other hand, if you leave a reasonable amount of money to a person or to a trust to care for your animals, you will be considered a responsible individual and your wishes will be upheld.
This book is over a decade old now, so it cannot be depended on for specific legal information. Since you will need to use an attorney to make specific arrangements, this really isn’t a drawback. This book’s utility is in shining light on an often overlooked facet of estate planning. Nobody likes to plan for their death, and it is easy to overlook your pets. ( )
  WaltNoise | Jul 14, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0939165449, Paperback)

Too many pets are abandoned or destroyed by the family and friends of their deceased owners. This easy-to-use resource guide provides the most current information on providing for a pet. Included are sample legal forms, names of pet law specialists, addresses of pet retirement homes and sanctuaries throughout the U.S., a report on all relevant state statutes, important court decisions affecting people and their pets, and precise details on how to set up a pet trust.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:44 -0400)

Outlines ways in which a pet can be provided for after the death of an owner. Includes resources and sample documents for wills.

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