Pet owners generally want to provide great care for the animal companions in their lives, in large part because animals are such wonderful friends to people. Dogs, cats, and other domestic pets can bring untold joy to their owner’s life and these pets ask for little in return except for food, water, occasional attention, and a safe place to call home.
While you may believe you can provide that safe place to your pet, the sad fact is that unexpected tragedy can strike anyone at any time. You could become ill or injured in an unexpected accident, or you could even pass away before your pet.
If you are no longer able to take care of your animal, your pet’s future is up to fate- unless you have taken pet planning steps in advance. For pet owners in southern Maine, Hodgkins Law, PLLC can help. Give us a call at 207-358-3270 to find out about the pet planning process that is right for you and to get answers to questions including:
- Why is pet planning important?
- What does pet planning involve?
- How can a local pet planning lawyer help?
Why is Pet Planning Important?
Pet planning is important because many companion animals could live for a long time and could realistically outlive their owners. When you bring a pet into your home, you should be responsible for the animal’s care during the pet’s lifetime. If you cannot provide this lifetime of care, you put your pets at risk. Older pets have more significant difficulties getting adopted if their owners are no longer able to care for them – which makes it especially important to make a plan for an older pet.
The pet planning process is designed to make sure that your beloved pet does not end up homeless or facing any type of uncertain fate – even if something happens. Whether you are young or old, you could become incapacitated by a tragic accident or an illness or you could pass away unexpectedly. Your pet should not be vulnerable in this situation – and your animal won’t be at risk if you have taken advance steps to provide protection.
What Does Pet Planning Involve?
Pet planning involves making certain that provisions are made to provide for your animals if you pass away before your pet does, or if you become unable to care for your animal for any other reason. An attorney can provide insight into what exactly you should include in your plan so you can get the needs of your animals met.
The most basic type of pet plan that you create should help you to prevent your animal from being left without a caretaker if you have a health issue. This basic plan should involve talking with people in your life to determine who would be a good guardian for the pet just in case something happens to you. Once someone seems like a good fit and they agree to become the pet’s guardian, you can leave instructions naming a guardian for the animal as part of your estate plan. It is also usually a good idea to have a backup pet guardian just in case something unexpected makes your first choice person unavailable to provide assistance.
While making provisions for who should care for your animal, you may also wish to consider the costs associated with veterinary care or other pet-related expenses. It can be costly to provide everything that an animal needs, and spending substantial sums on animal medical care could be difficult for a newly-named pet guardian. Fortunately, pet owners can create a trust, name a trustee to manage trust assets, and make clear in the trust document that the trust is to benefit the animals. The trustee will then have a fiduciary duty to follow the instructions and use the assets to provide for the animal’s needs.
How can a Local Pet Planning Lawyer Help?
A Brunswick, Maine pet planning lawyer at Hodgkins Law, PLLC will help you to make sure your pet is going to be provided with care and with a stable home, no matter what. If something happens to you, your pet should be taken care of when you have put your plan into place. Give us a call at 207-358-3270 to find out more about what pet planning involves and to determine what type of plan is best for your beloved animal companion.