On Friday afternoon, I was at work when I got an e-mail from the ASPCA. They were announcing a major adoption event in Joplin for the 600 animals left in the rescue facility since the May 22 tornado.
On Friday afternoon, I was at work when I got an e-mail from the ASPCA. They were announcing a major adoption event in Joplin for the 600 animals left in the rescue facility since the May 22 tornado. When I read it I got a knot in my stomach. Those poor animals! Homeless, owners possibly dead, they don’t understand what happened or why they are waiting in cages for someone who is no longer around to come and get them and take them home again. It tears at your heart!
I work for a financial adviser, and he tells everyone that the one thing you don’t want to do is to outlive your money. Well, I believe the same thing goes for pets. None of us are invincible, and we don’t know if we will live for another 20 or 30 years or if we will die next week. Just as we have to consider our children or elderly parent’s situations upon our death, we need to also consider what will happen to our pets.
One of the saddest things I have ever seen is an animal sitting in a cage at a shelter waiting for his family to come and get him when no family member is coming and no one else wants him. Just because you have friends or relatives that seem to love your pets doesn’t mean they will step up and take care of them if you die unexpectedly.
The animals in Joplin are waiting for family to come and take them home. This heartbreaking scenario is unique due to the natural disaster. However, we can take steps to avoid this same situation for our pets. Who will take your pets when you die? Believe it or not, you can prepare for this by setting up a pet trust.
A pet trust is a document drawn up by an attorney that is similar to a regular trust agreement, but it pertains to the care of your pets after you are gone. Through this document, you can designate a trustee to administer the trust and set stipulations for the care of your pets. I have a Pet Trust that is set up to take care of our dogs in the event that I die before they do.
The first thing you need to do is find a responsible person who is willing to be the trustee of the trust and care taker or overseer of your pets if something happens to you. The second thing you need is funding. I am using my IRA and life insurance policy to fund my pet trust. My pet trust designates how the pets are to be placed and overseen by the trustee. The trust funds their nutritional and medical needs until the pets die then a specific amount goes to the trustee. Any remaining amount after that goes to charity.
Any good attorney can set up a pet trust. Pet trusts in the state of Missouri can be carried out for as long as 21 years. The cost shouldn’t be any more than the cost of a will. There are also several websites where you can establish a pet trust on your own for a nominal fee. Once you set the trust up, be sure to give your trustee a copy of this trust and keep them advised of any changes you may make over time.
Our pets depend upon us to take care of them. In the case of an emergency, we need to have a plan to protect our families and pets. Like life insurance provides for our families, a pet trust can provide for our pets. In life, and in death, we can provide for the care and security of our loved ones.
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