Gentreo Life Events: How to Update Your Estate Plan When You Get a New Pet

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woman lying on couch cuddling dog

Bringing a new pet into your household is such an amazing life event. Whether big or small, your new friend brings so much joy and excitement, but can also require a lot of life changes. It can be easy to get tied up in all of the initial steps that should be taken to keep your new family member safe and healthy. Training, learning feeding schedules, and enjoying time with your new pet are important, however they have a lot of needs – both short term and long term – that need to be handled in order to properly ensure that they are fully protected. Adding your pet to your estate plan is a simple step that ensures that they will be cared for as you would, even if you can’t be there yourself. 

When you love your pet, you want to know that your pet would be cared for if you ever were unable to do so yourself. However, if you don’t add your pet to your estate plan, there are many situations that could leave them without the care that they need, or worse, could result in them being left at a shelter.

Why Should I Include My Pet in My Estate Plan?

Many of us don’t often think about how having a new pet may impact our estate plan, but there are common scenarios where it’s important that your pet is provided for in your estate planning documents:

Pet Care

There are often events and plans that take us away from our pets, and we have to leave them with a friend, family member, or kennel to care for them until we return. In these cases, it’s helpful to have a sheet of paper with all of the information your pet’s sitter needs to know about their care, their vet, and any emergency information.

Travel

Whether you need to travel for work or you’re taking a vacation and cannot bring your pet along with you, times may come where you need to leave your pet with someone you trust to care for them. If something happens to your pet and they need emergency treatment or surgery, it’s critical that the caregiver you left them with has the authority to approve or deny your pet’s medical treatment as you would.

Survival

As much as we don’t want to think about it, there is always a chance that you could pass away before your pet. Even if that possibility is very unlikely, you may want to have a plan in case it happens. According to an article by SafePassageUrns.com, about 1.3 million pets are sent to shelters after their owner’s death, and about half end up being euthanized. Of course, you wouldn’t want that for your beloved pet! The good news is that you can use your estate plan to protect and provide for your pet while you’re alive and after you pass away.

We know that protecting your new pet is a priority, which is why adding them to your estate plan is such an important step in their long term care. According to a 2019 study by Statista.com, over 67% of American households own a pet, and according to AmericanPetProducts.com, Americans spent over 100 billion dollars on their pets in 2020. With the growth of pet ownership in the last few years, more and more pet owners leave their pets without proper care by not taking the steps to update their estate plans. With Gentreo, these steps are easy and affordable so that you can spend less time worrying about the future and more time enjoying the present with your new best friend.

Steps to Update Your Estate Plan When You Get a New Pet

Create a Pet Power of Attorney

A Pet Power of Attorney is an important document and appointment for you to make for your pet. If you were ever unable to make financial decisions for your pet, like if you were on a business trip or in the hospital, your Pet Power of Attorney has the authority to make these decisions for you. This is especially important if your pet needs emergency medical treatment and the vet is unable to reach you. Your pet’s caregiver would have the authorization from you to provide your pet with the best care. You never have to worry that your pet won’t receive the care that they need, no matter the situation.

Create a Pet Trust

A Pet Trust is an easy way to ensure that your pet will have a permanent caregiver, and that that person will have the financial resources to care for your pet if they were to outlive you. Not only can you fund a Pet Trust to ensure their needs can be paid for, but it allows you to name a permanent caretaker for your pet. If there is no caregiver in place, your family would have to go to court to get a determination about who would care for your pet. They may be sent to a shelter, or worse – even if you and your friend had decided she would give your pet a loving home if you passed away. Creating and funding a Pet Trust ensures they are safe no matter what.

Create a Pet Information Sheet

A Pet Information Sheet is an important document to keep for your pet. If you ever have to leave your pet with a sitter while traveling or otherwise, you can keep your pet sitter informed with everything they need to know about your pet using this sheet. You can include vet and emergency contacts, feeding and exercise routines, list medications and dosages, and even note your pet’s favorite toys, treats and walk routes.

Getting a new pet is an amazing life event, and with it comes many life changes. At Gentreo, we know that protecting your family is a top priority, including the furry and feathered ones! We want to make sure that you have all the resources needed to ensure that you are prepared for anything. Gentreo makes it easy and affordable to create, update, and store your estate documentation. With the Gentreo Digital Family Vault, everyone knows where to turn in the event of an emergency and instant access is always just a few clicks away. Sign up today to give your pets the protection they deserve. 

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