Don’t Abandon Your Pets When You Make Your Estate Plan
Animal shelters often fill a need created by selfish or irresponsible pet owners. But even beloved pets cared for by considerate owners can end up in a shelter — or worse.
I read an Associated Press article in the newspaper July 1, 2012 that explained how animal shelters across the country become overburdened in summer months. It got me thinking about another increasing demand on animal shelters that is not seasonal but a year round matter.
It seems that cats like to give birth at the start of summer – up to two litters of four or more kittens each. Many kittens are abandoned or are brought into shelters so young that they can’t be bottle fed and don’t survive. Dog strays increase as kids leave doors and gates open. Dogs get hit by cars or rescued from hot cars.
College town shelters often see a surge in summers as students head home. Some heartless owners dump their pets so they can take a vacation. Shelters lose volunteers as students head home, snowbirds go north, and helpers go on holiday. Medical costs to take care of homeless animals waiting for placement is greater because of fleas and ticks in warm months.
As thoughtless as some of these circumstances may be, a considerable demand on animal shelters is from loving pet owners who unthinkingly make their pets orphans due to their failure to plan. Think about it. Some pets live 20 years; Some birds can live to be more than 75. What if your pets outlive you? Fewer than 20% of pet owners make provisions for their pets in their estate plans in the event of their death or disability.
In many states today, including Ohio, pet owners can create legally enforceable Pet Trusts. A Pet Trust will spell out what happens to your furry friend when you are no longer around or able to love and care for him. The details and design of Pet Trusts can be very customized. For example, you can determine who will care for your pet; the kind of veterinary care she will receive; set standards for the animal’s care and provide funds for their care and comfort. By making the money in trust follow the pet and not the caretaker, you can provide funds to make adopting your beloved companion more attractive to a good and loving caretaker.
Your pets give you unconditional love. A Pet Trust may be just the way to make sure that your love for your pets lasts a lifetime.