Pets are a very special part of our life. We’ll do anything we can to keep them happy and healthy. You may not be aware that there are some unexpected ways to protect your pet. Let’s take a look at how to keep our furry family members safe.
Estate Planning for Pets
Just like an estate plan protects you and your family, an estate plan protects your pet. Here are the legal documents you need to create a pet estate plan that can be part of your comprehensive estate planning package:
You can provide specific instructions for the agent/caregiver to carry out. These could include:
- Listing any medical issues – An illness or medical condition the caregiver needs to be aware of.
- Any medications that need to be administered – Types of medications and a schedule when they need to be given.
- Name all pets – If you have more than one pet, list them separately along with instructions for each.
- Food/treats – Favorite foods or treats your pet enjoys.
- Limiting the cost of any medical services – Set spending limits on any treatments or procedures that may need to be done if an emergency arises.
- Medical treatment choices – Choose what type of procedures you would want or not want.
- Providing an alternate agent/caregiver – If your initial choices cannot fulfill their duties, have someone ready to step in.
- Routines – Feeding or walking schedules.
- Long-term care provider – If your pet becomes in need of long-term care that you could not provide, name someone who could.
- Control the caregiver’s powers – You can set limited or broad authority to the caregiver.
- List veterinarians– Provide the contact info for veterinarians and pet hospitals.
If an emergency occurs, a veterinarian may not treat your pet without your authorization. The Pet Power of Attorney ensures your pet will get the care it needs should something happen.
Have peace of mind your pet will be cared for if something happens to you with a Pet Power of Attorney, a Pet Trust, and a Will. Your pet can – and should – be part of your estate plan.
Other ways to protect your pet
In addition to an estate plan, here are a few other ways to protect your pet:
- Pet Insurance – There are pet insurance policies available to help cover medical costs, a few offered by nationally known insurance companies. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the monthly premiums range from $6 to $155 depending on the type of pet, and the choice of deductibles and limits.
- Informal Agreement – This is the most common of pet care. You can have a verbal agreement with a neighbor, relative or friend to take custody and care of your pet if you are unable to. Needless to say, this has no legal “teeth”.
- Letters of Instruction – You can provide a list of instructions of how you want your pet cared for. Like an informal agreement, letters of instruction are not legal binding and should be used in conjunction with an estate plan.
- GPS – If your pet gets lost, a GPS tracker will let you hone on it. You can place the device on a collar, and it will transmit a signal to your cell phone or receiver.
- Microchip – About the size of a single grain of rice, a microchip can be implanted under the skin. Each has an identification number matching your contact info. When your pet is found, the chip can be scanned by a vet or animal shelter so you can be notified.
- ID tags – The so-called “dog tags” have been used for ages. They can have your contact information or an ID number.
There are old and new ways to protect your pet. A combination of both will give you peace of mind when it comes to keeping your pet safe.