The stories are more common than anyone wants to consider. When seniors pass, their beloved pets often end up in shelters or are abandoned if no planning has taken place. Pet owners are given suggestions in this segment from 12 News Phoenix “What if your pet outlives you? Here are some options.”
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.
Not every community is fortunate to have a rescue shelter like Gilbert’s. However, with good planning, you can make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your pets do not face an unhappy future without you. Speak with an estate planning attorney to learn about how pet trusts would work as part of your estate plan, and start the process. You’ll need to think about who would be best to provide your pet with a loving home. If no such person is available or willing to do this, identify a no-kill shelter where your pet might comfortably live out the rest of his or her life.
Reference: 12 News Phoenix (September 5, 2016) “What if your pet outlives you? Here are some options”
Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Pet Trusts