They become a part of the family and often stay at home longer than the human children. Whether one of the most popular breeds such as a Labrador retriever, German Shepherd or a mixed rescue, the ASPCA estimates that 44 percent of households have a dog. And cats, bunnies and birds are important members in others.
These fur babies need to be considered in the estate planning process. This will ensure that they remain healthy and happy after you are no longer able to provide care anymore.
Will an assisted living take a dog or cat?
As more retirees have a well-loved dog or cat, thinking about downsizing or getting more care must include consideration of options for pets. Does a desirable assisted living or skill nursing facilities allow furry companions? Luckily, more assisted living facilities have started allowing pets with the recognition that they often keep their owners active and engaged. However, few nursing facilities will take in animals.
Pet Advance Directives – Yes, they are a thing
The AARP money section recently wrote an article titled “Pooch Protection.” And one recommendation was to have in place an advance veterinary directive. Similar to the medical and legal forms you have, you need several copies of this document. Keep one with your estate plan and give another to a trusted person who would step in to provide care.
Finding a caretaker and providing for costs
If you were to die suddenly without any advance plan, your pets would be at the mercy of a kind neighbor, relative or stranger. You may have seen requests even on Facebook where someone is looking for a caregiver for a cat or dog after an aging loved one passes away.
Don’t let that happen. Talk to animal lovers – maybe a couple who has had dogs in the past – and see if they would be willing to step in and care for your fur baby if anything happened. Doing a trial stay or asking this couple to watch your dog during vacations might be a way to build a bond.
Tied in with finding someone to step in, you may also want to consider setting up a trust that would pay for food, treats and veterinary bills.