While no one likes to think about the day we will no longer be around for our loved ones, most of us are pragmatic enough to understand that we are not immortal. Between life insurance, estate planning, and end of life care, we are all encouraged to minimize the impact of our deaths upon those who are dependent on us. While surviving spouses, children, and favorite charities are the crux of most estate planning strategies, financial advisers seldom remember to ask about our pets.
Many pet owners have unspoken agreements with friends or family members who promise to look after Fluffy if the unthinkable happens. Still others have assumptions, which sadly, can be inaccurate. In the time that lapses between a promise made and the need to follow through, life can throw many curve balls. Many situations can arise to render even the most trusted friend unable to fulfill a promise to care for your pet. Place agreements regarding future pet guardianship in writing and keep them with your estate planning and life insurance documents. To ensure your pet is not left without care due to financial concerns, make sure a reasonable portion of your estate is bequeathed to his intended guardian once they take custody of your pet. Potential pet guardians are more likely to step up to the plate if they know your pet will not represent a financial burden.