One interesting development coming from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is the need to factor pets into estate plans. This isn’t one of those stories where we talk about eccentric billionaires giving their full estate to their cat.
This is more of a discussion on disaster planning for pets.
According to The Today Show, natural disasters often push people into action when it comes to revising their estate plans. The ASPCA's trust and estates counsel is urging people to consider adding a plan for the arrangement of their pets as part of their overall estate plan.
With over fifty percent of American households having a pet, the care of that pet becomes important. While people often plan on who will care for their children in the event of death or incapacity of the parents, the same isn't often the case for pets.
The ASPCA says that somewhere between 5 and 7 million pets end up in shelters each year. Many end up euthanized due to the fact that the ASPCA is unable to fund a suitable home for the pet.
Many of these pets come to the ASCPA as the result of loosing a guardian. So, how would one go about planning for their pet's care in the event of the unforeseen?
There are many ways to provide for a pet. For starters, you can easily include the care of your pet in your will, without the need to create a separate document. You simply indicate how you wish for your pet to be cared for in the event that you pass away or are incapacitated.
You can also carry an "animal card", which states the name of your pet, the type of animal and the location of the pet, including any special care instructions for your pet. This can be carried in your wallet. It also should state a name of someone who can gain access to the pet in case of emergency.
Finally, you can actually create a trust which will set aside funds for your pet's care. These funds can help your chosen guardian manage the expenses of caring for your pet.
You don't have to be Leona Helmsley to put your pet into your estate plan.
- Search Directory of New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)
- Leona Helmsley's Estate Goes ... Not to the Dogs: Estate Planning and Taxes, What to Consider (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- Book Published On How To Leave Your Estate To Your Pets (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning Law News)