Elder law attorneys at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates help you to make plans to protect those who you care about in case something happens to you. It is obviously very important to put a plan in place to provide for your family members in case you become incapacitated or pass away. However, while it’s common to make plans to provide for spouses and children, you don’t want to forget the animal members of your family.
Each year, 7.6 million companion animals are surrendered, according to the ASPCA. Far too many of these animals are surrendered because their owner has become incapacitated or their owner has passed away.
If you have animals who are in your care, you want to take steps now while you still can to ensure they will not end up homeless or uncared for if you are not able to provide a home for them. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates will assist you in taking the necessary steps to ensure your beloved pets are provided for. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.
Your Guide to Making a Pet Plan
The creation of a pet plan should start with something very simple: making sure there is someone notified that your pets need care if something happens to you. If you get into a serious accident or suffer an incapacitating injury like a stroke, you may be unable to go home and get your pets when they are alone in the house. You should consider carrying a card in your wallet indicating you have pets at home alone and providing the contact information of one or two trusted friends or relatives who can go to your house and provide immediate care for your pets.
If you become incapacitated or pass away due to your serious illness or injury, you’ll need to ensure you have a more long-term plan in place to provide for the care of your animals. You should ideally name a guardian, and a backup guardian, who your animals will live with and who will care for your pets if you cannot because you are too sick, too hurt, or because you have passed on. Talk to the person you’d prefer to name as guardian and ensure they are willing to assume the responsibility and then work with Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates to make your preferences for pet care known.
Because caring for a pet can be costly, you likely also want to make some provisions for the financial support of your animals if you cannot care for them any longer. You should work with elder law attorneys to find the best way to provide financially for your pets after your incapacity or your death. Your pets, obviously, cannot inherit money directly or manage an inheritance on their own. Leaving money to the pets in your will is not always the best course of action, because this gives you limited or no control over who manages the money or what happens to it.
Instead, you should consider creating a trust. Your pets can be beneficiaries of the trust and you can name a trustee who you feel you can count on to follow your instructions and use the funds to provide for your pet. The trustee you select to manage trust assets and use those assets for your animals will have a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty owed under the law, and will be legally obligated to use the money to care for your animals as you intended. This way, you can be confident the money is actually being used to provide for your pets and enhance their quality of life.
Getting Help from Elder Law Attorneys
Elder law attorneys at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can assist you in making a pet plan as part of your comprehensive estate plan. We can also help you with the creation of a standalone pet plan if you have just gotten an animal you want to ensure is cared for or if you are not yet ready to consider a full estate plan. You owe it to your animals to ensure they don’t suffer because you get sick or pass away, so give us a call at 860-548-1000 or contact us online today.
To find out more about the pet planning process or about all of the services our legal team can offer to help you protect those you love, join us for a free seminar. You should reach out today via phone, online, or by signing up for a seminar so you can put your plans in place and be ready for whatever the future brings.