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How to Make Sure Your Pet is Taken Care of After You’re Gone
My cat, Tiggaroo, was looking for his forever home in 2018. I had my prior cat since she was a kitten until she passed away eighteen years later in 2018. I was twenty years old stationed in North Carolina in the United States Air Force when I adopted Pooh Bear. For eighteen years, through the military, law school, three states, eight different apartments, a marriage, a divorce, among countless other occasions, both happy, sad, and everywhere in between, she was there. To say I was heartbroken and devastated to lose her is an understatement.
While I was in mourning, an attorney in my office that handles real estate transactions contacted me, knowing what an animal lover I am, that she had had a closing and the agent was looking for a forever home for an eight month old kitten. I politely declined and said I wasn’t ready yet. Three weeks later she reached out to me again and said the agent was having a hard time finding a forever home and would I reconsider. The kitten and his sister had the same owner, but when the owner decided to move to Arizona, they could only take one of the cats and the sister was chosen. The agent was a friend of the owner and promised her friend she would find him a forever home. Apparently, she thought she found him a new mom, but when she dropped him off there was multiple other animals in the home, and she had a nagging feeling it wasn’t the right fit. After not sleeping all night, she went back the next day and took the cat back.
Even though I still didn’t feel ready, something tugged at my heart thinking of an animal in need of a home. I agreed to go meet him. Looking back, I stood zero chance of not leaving with Tiggaroo. Almost immediately Tiggs filled a hole in my heart that I didn’t realize needed filling. I thought I was betraying Pooh Bear, but in reality Tiggs was saving me. He’s the sweetest fur baby I’ve ever had. I know there are a lot of parent fur babies out there who agree that our pets are part of our families. We are told how important estate planning is to take care of our families, but most times our pets are not included in those plans. So how can you make sure your pet is taken care of? There are several options.
You can provide for your pet in your Will, or you can create a Pet Trust. A Pet Trust appoints a trustee to provide for the care and maintenance of your pets if you are disabled or in the event of your death. The trustee is entrusted with a monetary amount you transfer to the trust to care for your animals. The trustee will then make payments to a designated caregiver of your pets during the life of your pets. A will can designate a caretaker for your animals and can also bequeath a specific monetary amount for the care of the animals.
Trust and wills are legally enforceable documents so you can rest assured that your wishes will be carried out. A trust can also be very specific. If your pet likes a specific food or treat, the trust can specify that. If you want your pet to have a certain number of vet check-ups the trust can mandate that. The trust can provide who is to care for your animal and the best way to care for your pet.