Just call me old-school.
In addition to the calendars on my phone and iPad, I still keep a wall calendar in my home office. And to be honest, I’ve never been happier about turning the page.
Yes, March was a tough month here at In Brief Legal Writing Services. There was the anniversary of my father’s death; the loss of an old friend; and an unspeakable family tragedy that left us reeling. Collectively these incidents serve as a reminder that life — the wild and crazy and wonderful and wacky ride we’re all on while we’re here — is so incredibly short.
No one will live forever…
Collectively, it was also a reality check. A big one. After all no one likes being reminded about their own mortality. No one like to think about “what will happen if… or what will happen when….” No one really wants to think about putting their affairs in order. So it’s easy to procrastinate. You swear you’ll do it tomorrow and then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next thing you know it’s a week later… so you start all over.
But as any good lawyer will tell you, making your wishes known through a will or trust is essential. If done properly, the creation of a written, legally binding directive regarding the provisions for your loved ones in the event of permanent disability or death, will give everyone peace of mind.
True, there is a lot to consider. And depending on your circumstances, these considerations may go well beyond “who gets what.” For pet owners, a critical question that is often overlooked is, “what will happen to the animal(s).”
What is a pet trust?
A recent article on forbes.com addresses the issue. Specifically it discussed the importance of creating a “pet trust.”
Basically, a pet trust is a legal mechanism that allows an owner to have a certain amount of money set aside for the care of his or her animal(s) in the event of catastrophic illness/injury or death. It also allows the owner to designate someone to manage the trust and/or care for the animal(s). It can also detail how the animal’s or animals’ needs should be addressed.
Because pet trusts are governed by individual state laws, experts strongly recommend that pet owners discuss the matter with qualified attorneys during the estate planning process.
You can find information about individual state laws regarding pet trusts here.
Don’t leave your pet’s future to chance…
Each situation is different, so a pet trust might not be the right option for you. But unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that friend or relative is willing to assume responsibility for your pet(s) in the event that you can no longer care for the animal(s), please, please, please make some sort of provisions for their care. Don’t leave it to chance.