Taking Care of Your Furry Friends When You Die

Pets are part of your family and can give you a lifetime of love and companionship. A recent 12 News Phoenix article, “What if your pet outlives you? Here are some options,” says that being a responsible pet owner means much more than the day-to-day care of your animal. You must think about possible life-changing circumstances that might leave you unable to care for your pet—as well as what happens if your pet outlives you. 10-24-16

Pet trusts and estate plans can be created to help your pets—along with some other legal options. To set aside some money, you can create a fund inside a trust and have that money managed for the pet guardian. If you can’t find someone to take responsibility for your pet, there are several options to prevent Fluffy from going to a public county facility or shelter.

For example, there is Gilbert's Furever Friends Rescue in Arizona that helps pets who outlive their owners. They help those in need pass along their pets before they’re unable to care for them. With all of the retirees in the Copper State, it’s common for people to move to the Southwest; however, their families haven’t all moved with them. As a result, there’s no one in the retirement community to help them out.

The rescue is totally nonprofit, and it aims to decrease the number of intakes and euthanasia cases in Maricopa and Pinal counties. Since it started four years ago, Gilbert's has managed to adopt out more than 1,500 dogs and cats and has helped more than 300 families.

Gilbert's doesn’t charge for animal surrender, but pets must be vetted, spayed and neutered, and have up-to-date vaccines.

A little planning can go a long way to give pet owners peace of mind. Talk to an estate planning attorney about pet trusts and estate planning. It is best to make these decisions about your pets before you have to. Be certain your pet will be cared for, even if it’s not with you.

Reference: 12 News Phoenix (September 5, 2016) “What if your pet outlives you? Here are some options”

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