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Adding your pets to your will

Think of how lost you would be without your best friend, the four-legged sidekick you care for and love. Now, think about how lost your fur-kid would be without you. All too often, unexpected tragedies leave pets hungry and homeless. A morbid thought, and, likely, one that hasn’t crossed your mind. But if you have pets, it’s time to think about their life without you in it.

Woman hugging husky

Adding your pet to your will is the only way to ensure them of a happy and prosperous life, even if you aren’t around to see it happen. Here’s everything you need to know about adding your pet to your will.

Have the talk

Talking about death ranks high on the list of least-appealing topics of conversation. However, when you have furry children at stake, the conversation must be had. Friends and family may think you’re joking, crazy and maybe even suicidal but assure them that your pets are your children, and you’re serious about their safety. Note to self: If they don’t already know this, you might want to reconsider choosing these friends or family members as caretakers. If you don’t have anyone in mind who would be willing and able to take on this responsibility, don’t stress. Your breeder or rescue shelter may be willing to provide safe haven and help your pup find a new and loving forever home.

Put it in writing

Write down every single thing anyone should know about Fluffy and Fido — everything. If your pooch has a favorite toy, a specific side of the bed he likes to sleep on, a food he should stay away from, any naughty habits, put it all in writing. Your chosen caretaker should be able to mimic your pet’s life as it was. If you have multiple pets, specify whether they can be separated or not. You’ll need to outline a financial plan for your pet’s care and written instructions for accessing any funds that have been put aside. Reach out to organizations, like 2nd Chance 4 Pets, that specialize in helping pet parents create trusts or write wills that include their pets.

What not to do:

  • Don’t assume your friends and family will automatically step in. Your loved ones will be busy mourning your loss and possibly dealing with a variety of decisions including loose ends on any personal belongings. The last thing they will be able to handle is ensuring the safety of your pet. Unless otherwise discussed, your pet could end up back at an unknown shelter or, worse, left homeless.
  • Don’t leave large sums of money for your pet in your will. The courts still consider pets “personal property,” therefore, any amount of money left can still be redirected anyway a court chooses. If you plan on leaving a hefty amount of money to your pet, we recommend seeking legal council to ensure your pet’s funds get utilized as planned.
  • Don’t assume nothing will happen. Sadly, we know a time will come when we will have to say goodbye to our pets. When that time comes, we can find peace knowing our pet lived life to the fullest. If the worst should happen, find peace in knowing your pet will still get a chance to live the rest of his life just as happy as he made yours.

More tips for pet owners

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How to become a foster pet parent
Top dating sites for pet lovers

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