If you have pets, my guess is that you love them as much as you do your children. I’m also guessing that you have not provided any written, or better yet legally, documented instructions about what should happen to them if you become incapacitated or when you die. If you have, read this article with an eye to ensuring you’ve checked all the right boxes for the beings you love. If you haven’t, read on because it’s time to take action with your pets and your estate planning. Don’t forget your furry friends! We can make it easy for you to do the right thing by the pets you love. So what happens to your pets when you die?

Let’s start by looking at what happens if you’ve done nothing to ensure the well-being and care of your pets. It may be that if you do nothing, one or more of your friends and family will step forward to take care of your pets. But will the person who steps forward be the person you would choose? And, will they be able to easily afford to care for your pet in the way you do?


Pet Protection Care in Your Estate Plan


Will they feed your pet the same food you do?
Are they going to be able to spend as much time and energy with your pet as you do?
Will they be able to offer your pet the same quality of life you do?
Do you care about these sorts of things?

If you do care, you do need to take action. You cannot just leave the well-being and care of your pets to chance. You should designate at least one person, and ideally one person plus backups, to care for your pets. Provide instructions to the people you’ve named and perhaps also money to support the care of your pets. The last thing you want is for your pets to become a burden to your friends and family or taken to the humane society for lack of financial support.


Steps to Plan for Your Pet’s Care in Your Estate Plan


Step one in all circumstances is to legally name the people you would want to care for your pets in the event you cannot. You should name these people in your will and also in a “pet power of attorney” providing for your pet’s care in the event of your incapacity.

Step two is to give the people you’ve named specific instructions about how you want your pets to be cared for. The instructions should include type and amounts of food, any medications needed, exercise plan, and any other special things you know about your pets that any caretaker should know.

Finally, step three is to consider whether you need to provide financial resources to care for your pets.

If your pet has any special needs (or if you want to provide funding for training, regular exercise, or a certain kind of food or care) it’s up to you to provide the financial resources to the people you’ve named to take care of your pets.


Pet Trust Planning for the Care of Your Pets


The way to provide funding for the care of your pets is through a pet trust. I’ll share the details of what happens with pet trust planning with you in next week’s article. So if you are reading this on our website, and not yet subscribed to our email newsletter, get on our email list and I’ll send you that article next week.

A Note from the Attorney, Stan Pierchoski:

The practice of law is a second career for me. After obtaining Master of Science degrees in both Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering, I worked in the Nuclear Power Industry for 15 years. Always having an interest in law, I attended and graduated from law school and founded the Pierchoski Law Firm in 2002 in Pulaski, TN. For several years I practiced as a criminal defense, trial attorney. After my parents passed I became interested in Trust and Estate Law and felt a strong calling to change my practice to the Estate Planning area.

For years I have been exclusively doing trust writing and wealth planning and have become proficient at it. Over the last several years my practice has evolved to serve all age groups including elders and Medicaid Planning. I am always open to your questions and am more than happy to chat with you about your concerns so give me a call or stop by my office. You’ll be glad you did!