Let me begin with this bold statement: Pets are family members. They depend on us and they deserve to be factored into our estate plans. Here are 5 key considerations that should be addressed when you draft your Advanced Pet Directive:
Who will provide primary care? Who will support that person, if needed?
Think of who would provide the best care for your pet and have a clear and direct conversation about your expectations and wishes. It’s important to remember that this is not a legally binding agreement, but rather a request. Be sure you’ve documented this wish in your paperwork and communicated in advance with other family members so there is no confusion.
In the absence of that person, who is your next choice?
Always gotta have a back-up plan.
What are the specific instructions to care for your pet?
You probably have a good draft of this already completed for the doggy-daycare or dog sitter, but if you don’t, you can use Google to find a checklist including things like: nicknames, favorite treats, hiding spots, specific fears. Ideally, the caretaker for your pet is someone who knows them already, but it’s a good idea to document even the most obvious details.
How have you planned for insurance coverage?
Do you currently carry insurance coverage on your pet? If yes, ensure that it will continue after your death by calling the insurance company and exploring specific options. If you do not carry insurance, identify the estimated maximum budget for medical bills and identify the source of funds.
What trust or will provisions exist to provide financial coverage?
Draft a monthly or annual budget covering all costs associated with care and boarding and create an estimated expense. Work with your estate planner to ensure that funds have been earmarked, should they be needed and that your estate documents include provisions to direct and fund future care.
As I work with clients in the pre-planning space, we cover these important issues in great detail and I can assist in creating the appropriate documentation to provide advanced guidance. I’d love to help you, too.