Pet sense: Part Three | – The Peterborough Examiner


Legal columinst Peter Lillico.

The last two articles have discussed the challenges pet owners face in planning for the care of their furry friends even after the owner’s death.  

Finding a suitable prearranged adopting family is annoyingly elusive?  Don’t want to burden your executor with the sole responsibility on top of everything else?  Then remember that the local Humane Society can help.  The executor can be directed to turn to that organization to assist in the process of finding a new home.  The Humane Society will take good care of your pet while actively seeking the right person to adopt it. There is a reasonable fee for their services, but they will reach out into the community to match your pet with a qualified and appropriate person. 

If your plan is for a pre-selected friend to step in for your pet, or whether you leave the adoption procedure to your executor to carry out, you should provide financial assistance for the care of your creature.  As every pet owner knows, the joy of ownership brings with it inevitable expenses.  Food, medicine, grooming and veterinarian bills all add up. Most people who agree to take over are doing so out of respect for you and consideration for the pet, and would no doubt do so whether or not money was provided for that purpose.  Still, if someone is kind enough to agree to care for your pet, then the least you can do is to ease their financial burden. 

The simplest way to do this is to provide a bequest of money in your Will, specifically to assist the lucky recipient of your furry treasure with the costs of care.  Depending upon the size of your estate, (and the number, age and appetites of your hairy inheritances) you can decide whether to provide a token assistance, or actually try to calculate the cost of care for the remaining years of your pet and underwrite the entire estimated expenses.

Whether or not you involve the Humane Society in the planning for your pet, if you love animals you may consider leaving it a direct bequest.  Providing shelter for strays and injured animals, and helping with the adoption of orphans are crucially important.  It also provides animal protection services for the prevention of cruelty, as well as spaying/neutering programs to reduce the numbers of unwanted pets.  Any bequest of money left in your Will to your local Humane Society will be appreciated and put to good use.

Maybe some suggestions in these articles will help you plan to protect your pet.  Perhaps you will come up with a fresh idea that works better in your own situation.  No matter, just don’t be an ostrich blindly sticking your head in the sand, assuming that all will work out well. Your pets can’t speak for themselves, it’s up to you!

Peter Lillico is a Peterborough-based lawyer. If you have a suggestion for a legal related topic, please share it with him by email at [email protected]

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