A Harrisville elder law lawyer at Biddinger & Bitzer can help you to make plans to protect your loved ones. This includes not just your human family members, but also your animal companions. Animals are at risk when their owners die or become incapacitated. According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 7.6 million companion animals surrendered to shelters annually and an estimated 2.7 million of those animals end up being euthanized. Your pet could end up homeless or worse, but you can prevent this fate by making an advanced pet plan.
Clients throughout Michigan’s shoreline communities can get help from Biddinger & Bitzer to take proactive steps to keep their animals safe from harm even if something happens and they can no longer care for their pets themselves. It’s a good idea to act now while you’re healthy and you have time to formulate a plan and put the right tools in place.
How to Make a Plan to Protect Your Pets
To make a plan to protect your animals, the first and simplest thing you should consider doing is putting a card in your wallet explaining you have animals at home and detailing who should be called in an emergency. If you carry this type of card and you get into an accident or suffer a serious medical incident like a stroke or heart attack, those who are caring for you will know that there could be animals home alone at your house who are in need of assistance. The contact person can be called to ensure that someone goes to your home to provide proper care for your pets.
You will also need a plan to make sure your animals are cared for over the long-term if you are not able to care for them because of incapacity or because you pass away. You should select a person who you want to serve as guardian for your pets and provide instructions in your estate plan to specify who will be entrusted with your animal’s care. Talk to the chosen guardian first before you specify that you want them to take your animals to make sure that the guardian is willing and able to take the animals in. You can also name a backup guardian because there are situations where people’s circumstances change and your first choice of guardian may end up unable to take in the animals at the time when something happens to you.
If you want to make sure there is money available to meet the needs of your animals, you can also take proactive steps to provide funds. You obviously can’t just leave money in your will to have your animals inherit because pets cannot own property and would obviously not be able to manage the money anyway. One of the best ways to provide financial support for the care of your animals in case something happens to you is to create a trust.
When you make a trust, you can transfer assets to the trust and you can put a person who you feel is responsible and honest in charge of managing the trust assets and using the trust assets to provide the highest possible quality of life for your animals. You can specify in your trust document who will serve as trustee to manage the trust, and that person will have a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty that can be owed under the law. The trustee will need to follow your instructions that were set forth in the trust document and will need to use the trust for your intended purposes, which can include providing specific kinds of care and support for your animal companions.
Getting Help from a Harrisville Elder Law Lawyer
A Harrisville elder law lawyer can work with you to take these and other steps to make sure your animal companions do not end up in dire straits because something happens to you and you are not able to care for them any longer. Our legal team can also help you with all other estate planning issues to protect yourself and your family, including the human and animal members. To find out more about the assistance that our legal team can provide to you, give us a call at (989) 872-5601 or contact us online at any time.