The vast majority of Americans do not have a Will, and of those who have a Will don’t plan for their pets and what planning is done, is usually not comprehensive. In our last article (click here) we advised pet owners to put Basic Planning Steps in place for their Pets including:
- Creating a fact sheet or animal dossier on each pet;
- Carrying a Pet Alert Card in your wallet; and
- Placing a Rescue Pet Sticker on the window or door of your home.
There are a few other things you can do as well:
Include Pet Information in your Durable Power of Attorney. Please consider the following language in your POA: (1) selecting an agent to care for your pets (2) the power to spend the pet owner’s money on pet care like veterinarians, grooming, and food and (3) it’s also a good idea to consider including authority for the agent to place your pet with a long-term caregiver maybe a family member or friend.
Include a Provision in your Will that Gives your Pet(s) Outright to a Trusted Caregiver. An outright gift is an option that is a cheap and easy solution, and most attorneys don’t charge extra fees for this type of gift.
Create a Pet Trust. There are multiple different types of trusts. One option is a testamentary trust, meaning we add additional language to your will that creates a trust when you pass away. In Texas, there are also statutory pet trusts. Also, you can create an Inter Vivos Trust for the pet. These options are more time-intensive and increase in cost accordingly.
Transfer the Pet to a Life Care Center. A Life Care Center is an option for people that don’t have anyone to care for their pets if they pass away. One example of a local Texas Center is the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center. You can find more information about the center at their website: https://vetmed.tamu.edu/stevenson-center/. This option is also costly.