Pet ownership involves many responsibilities: shelter, health care, nutrition, exercise, and insuring they’re taken care if you go away. But what about their care if you pass away for good, leaving them behind with, perhaps, many good years left for them?
There’s been a rise in pet wills, as seen in the case of Leona Helmsley’s pet trust. Of course, Helmsley left $12 million for her Maltese and most pet owners won’t have $12 million to leave, but you can set up a reasonable will and/or a trust that will handle your pet’s care after you’re gone.
It is wise to look into pet health insurance as early as possible so that future caregivers will have that back-up in case of serious illness or injury. Prices vary depending on the carrier, the type of coverage, the age of your pet and often the breed. Expect to pay approximately $25 to $50 per month.
Pet Insurance Carriers:
Basic annual costs include recurring medical, food, toys and treats, grooming, license, and accessories such as collars, leashes, and crates.
Approximate Annual Cost for Pet Care per the ASPCA:
Don’t worry about your lawyer giving you a funny look when you say you want to provide for Fido – this is becoming more and more popular. You can even set up a pet living will online now. Keep in mind that it can take a couple of weeks for a will to be probated so setting up care with a temporary caregiver is essential.
Things to Consider in Will Planning:
Unlike a will, a trust can be executed immediately after your death and can also apply if you just become ill or incapacitated. A trustee is specified to control the funds and, again, a chosen caregiver. Pet trusts can be purchased online.
Benefits of Setting-Up a Trust:
Disadvantages of a Trust:
To start saving for your pet’s care after you pass away, consider setting up an Austerity Plan. This simply means finding less expensive ways to take care of your pet now. Use nonprofit shelters for spaying or neutering; vaccinate appropriately (not all vaccines are always needed – talk to your vet); fill prescriptions online (shop around for the best price); consult a vet by phone or online (for simple problems such as indigestion); groom at home. Making headway now and planning ahead can help insure that your pet will get long-term pet care even after you’re gone.
Photo: Alamos Basement