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Estate Planning for Your Pet

By Dee Walmsley

We come to an age when our thoughts turn to Wills, beneficiaries, care homes and all the goodies that come with winding down our journey here on earth – and so we should. But, while most of us seek assistance through financial planners, medical facilities and family, often little or no thought is given to the care of Rover or Kitty.

Here are a few questions worth pondering and planning for:

* You’ve sold your house and now you are ready to move into that beautiful new condo… is it pet-friendly?

* You find yourself unable to care for yourself 24/7 and are considering making the move into a care facility? Do they accept pets?

* Is a family member willing or able to take in your pet should you have to enter a residential facility or, indeed, die?

* Depending on the pet’s age is it kinder to have Rover euthanized rather than spending the rest of his life in a shelter?

* Do animals that are removed from their homes and surrendered to shelters get adopted? If so, what is the normal length of stay of being caged before they find a new home?

* Have you made financial arrangements for your pet’s needs, their food, shelter, and veterinary care?

Animals have emotions. They feel pain, stress, and suffer from depression just like their human counterparts. If you are in the process of planning your estate, consider what will happen to them after you’re gone

Some organizations, like the SPCA, have programs like “Leave a Legacy of Caring,” which includes making a will to ensure your wishes for your pet are carried out. Their Pet Survivor Care Program provides a basic, silver, gold and custom plan.

Basic plan

You can rest assured knowing that in the event of your passing; the BC SPCA will take in, care for and find a loving new home for your animal companion.

Silver, Gold and Custom plans

Advanced plans provide even more extensive care during hospital stays, as well as designate a BC SPCA employee to regularly visit your animal friend in their new home.

There are a number of organizations that care for cats and dogs, which can be found under Animal Shelters in the Yellow Pages. Before you make any decisions, take the time to visit some of these facilities, ask questions and check out references. Your pets’ future depends on the planning you implement now.

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