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“There is sorrow enough,” Kipling writes, “in the natural way/from men and women to fill our day.” But the most tender trap, he says, is laid by our four-legged friends: “Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware/Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”
The Old Man’s point is instantly obvious to many: Pets are not just animals, they often are the heart and soul of our very lives, and they take something from us when they “go.”
There’s a corollary here, though: What about those poor creatures who have given their hearts to us? It wasn’t long ago that the very idea of leaving something behind for our pets was so absurd that Disney could literally make cartoon fantasy out of it. But cultural evolution is a marvelous thing, and just last year, Minnesota became the last (and final) state or territory to legalize pet trusts.
That does not mean it is easy. There is so much to consider. Below are a few things to bear in mind as you contemplate your pet’s life without you:
1. Consider the Costs
How much kibble does your Dalmatian eat? How often does your Siamese need to see the vet? You’ll want to take a careful look at the costs to take care of your lovelies, and what it’s likely to cost in the future.
2. Consider the Caretakers
Whom do you most trust to look after your pet? What if that person decides he/she is not up to the job? Naming the proper trustee-and, sometimes, backup trustees-is essential.
3. Be Specific
Does your parakeet absolutely adore “The Magic Flute?” Does your Lab seem happiest at that dog run down by the creek? Just as in all other areas of estate planning, there is no such thing as being too specific.
4. Know Your Own Limits
A carefully executed estate plan is not just for the afterlife. What happens, for instance, if you become incapacitated, even for a short while? A broken hip, for instance, can sideline those gorgeous walks down the beach. Crafting a concrete, clear and actionable plan for your pets can give you peace of mind for what happens after you’re gone. And, perhaps even more importantly, it can inspire you to make the most of your time left together.
Contact us today to learn how to make provisions for your furry friends when you can no longer provide it to them.