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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > Providing For Pets In Estate Planning

Providing For Pets In Estate Planning


For many of us, pets play an important role in our families. They provide a source of both love and protection, particularly once we get older and our activities become more limited. If you are an older adult, you may have concerns about how your pet would be provided for in the event anything happened to you. Rather than leaving their care to chance, you can include arrangements for your pets in your estate planning documents.

Four Ways To Make Sure Your Pets Are Provided For

According to statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), close to 50 million people own a dog, many more than one. Close to 40 million own cats, birds, horses, or other types of domesticated animals. Pets are loyal companions but regardless of how much you rely on your pet as part of your daily life, it is important to acknowledge how dependent they are on you.

Go on any animal shelter or rescue website and you will see heartbreaking stories of pets who had to be surrendered either due to an accident, chronic illness, or when their owner passed away. Oftentimes, it is older pets who have gotten so accustomed to their owner and a certain lifestyle that they have a hard time adapting and getting adopted or acclimating to a new home. To prevent this from happening to your loyal friend, the Humane Society recommends including them in your estate planning. Steps you can take now to ensure they are protected include:

  1. Make sure people in your life know you have pets. 

While close family members may already be familiar with your animals, let out of town relatives, neighbors, friends, medical providers, and others know exactly how many animals you have.

  1. Use ‘in case of emergency’ notices.

Carry a wallet alert card on you and put notices about pets in your home and car to let neighbors, paramedics, police, firefighters or others involved know you have pets in the event of an emergency. 

  1. Select temporary caregivers.

Look for two responsible people in your life who may be willing to act as temporary caregivers in the event of an illness or other adverse event. Make sure they have access to your home, information about your pet, and make a list of feeding and care instructions. Ask permission to list their names and phone numbers on all emergency notices you have.

  1. Make more permanent arrangements.

Consider who might be willing to adopt your pet in the event of your passing. Use a trust to ensure they have the funds they need to provide for your pet, including food, regular grooming, periodic boarding, and veterinary appointments.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

At Cavallo & Cavallo, we can assist you in creating a trust and other important legal documents to protect your pets and ensure they are provided for properly. To discuss your options, call or contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys online and request a consultation in our office today.



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