Estate planning attorneys offer invaluable help with many of the different steps you need to take in order to be prepared for an uncertain future. There is no guarantee regarding when or if you will get sick or when you will pass away, so you need to consider estate planning issues even if you are young and healthy. Taking steps to take care of your family should be a key part of your plan, and this could include making sure that you have provisions in place for animals who are under your care.
Unfortunately, animals are at risk when their owners become incapacitated or when an owner passes away. There are around 7.6 million companion animals surrendered annually, according to the ASPCA, and you don’t want your pet to end up being one of the animals left homeless in a shelter because there is no plan for your animals care if something happens to you. Zimmer Law Firm can work with you to put a pet plan in place, so talk with our estate planning attorneys as soon as possible to get help creating a comprehensive plan to protect the animal companions depending upon you.
How to Make a Plan to Protect Your Pets
One of the simplest ways to make sure your pets are protected will allow you to ensure someone is there to attend to your animals in the immediate aftermath of an accident or an injury that takes your life or leaves you incapacitated. You should consider putting a card in your wallet that you carry with you that indicates your pets may be home alone and provides the contact information for a trusted person who can be called to check on them. Carrying this type of card ensures your animals aren’t left alone for days or even weeks in the immediate aftermath of an emergency that leaves you unable to get home.
You’ll also want to ensure you’ve named someone to serve as guardian of your pets if something happens to you and that you have provided instructions about who will care for your pets as part of your estate plan. Naming a guardian ensures you have put a person in charge of your animal’s care so your pets do not end up in a shelter. You should talk in advance with the person who you hope to name as guardian and make sure they are willing to take the animals in. You should also consider naming a backup as well, in case your chosen person ends up not being able to take the animals. Not only does naming a guardian ensure you’ll get the chance to provide your animals with a home with someone you trust, but you’ll also avoid a situation arising where people fight over the animals.
Because it can be costly to care for a pet, it’s a good idea to have a financial plan in place as well. You don’t want the costs of providing for your animal to result in your pet not getting the veterinary care he or she needs or otherwise experiencing a diminished quality of life. You could potentially leave money in your will that is earmarked for the care of an animal, but this often isn’t the best approach. Animals, of course, cannot inherit and manage money on their own, so you’ll need someone to be in charge of what happens to the funds you have left for your pets.
The best way to select a trusted person to manage money for your pets, and to make sure that person uses the funds in a way you would prefer to provide animal care, is to create a trust. Zimmer Law Firm can assist you with trust creation and will help you to make a trust document that clearly provides for the highest quality of life for your pets.
Getting Help from Estate Planning Attorneys
Estate planning attorneys at Zimmer Law Firm will work with you to create a customized plan that is right for your pets and for your family. We can help with all of your planning needs, whether you are focused on taking care of pets or children or whether you simply want to make sure your spouse or your other loved ones are supported after you pass away.
To learn more about the different estate planning services that we can provide to you, join us for a free seminar. If you want personalized help with your pet planning or with any other aspect of the legacy planning process, give us a call at 513-721-1513 today.