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Estate Planning for Your Pet

Estate Planning for your Pet

Many companion animals enter foster care with Pet Allies because their owners didn't have time to put in place the legal documents needed to care for them in the event they were no longer able to do so. Put pet care provisions in your will. Make sure your family, attorney and executor know who you have chosen to care for your pet if you no longer can. Make sure the person you chose knows they are the one! Don't assume. Pick a second person in case things have changed and your first choice for a pet guardian is no longer available or able to provide this important service for your pets.

Choosing a guardian:

Select a person or organization that has agreed to be the caretaker for your pet.

Chose an alternate in case your first choice is unable to provide for your pet(s).

Information for the guardian:

Does your pet like special kinds of toys? Is she allergic to something? Does she need special food? Make a list of all this type of information and leave it with your will and also with your pet supplies at home, so that it is easily accessible for any pet care provider.

Include the name of your veterinarian, phone number, location of medical records.

Do you have a friend who has pets? Maybe you can name each other as guardians in your wills? Introduce your pets to each other so they will be familiar with each other.

Providing financial care for the life of your pet in your absence:

In a perfect world, you would be able to leave enough money to your designated caretaker to care for your pet as you would.

If you leave a very large amount, it might be contested, deemed invalid, and endanger your pet. Your attorney can advise you as to the appropriate amount to leave a pet.

An example would be that many shelters require $45,000 to accept a pet in an estate. This level of funds allows for medical emergencies, major surgery, and longevity of a pet. This example is for a shelter that would keep the pet, and not have it euthanized due to lack of space or expensive illness.

Don't feel that because you are financially unable to leave this sum to your designated care-taker, that your pet will not be cared for properly. Please visit for ideas on how to creatively manage to leave enough funds to care for your pet(s).

Making sure that your plans take place.

Tell everyone, your friends, neighbors, people you meet at religious activities, co-workers, heirs, family members, your attorney, your veterinarian, simply everyone you can think of who comes in contact with your pet, about your arrangements.

You may think it's understood, but tell them your pets may NOT be used for medical research or product testing under any circumstances.

Help your executor with the difficult decisions you won't be here to make. Let them know, in writing if possible, what you would want to happen for your pet(s) if they become sick, have health problems due to age, develop severe behavior problems, or require daily care that makes it impossible to find a new caretaker. It might be kinder for your pet to be humanely euthanized than to suffer trauma of transition to a new home in some circumstances. Please let your designated pet(s) guardian know how you feel about these things.

Questions or concerns, Email Us.

Please visit Second Chance 4 Pets website, which has detailed information about planning for your pet's care. 

Pet Estate Planning Documents