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How to prepare for your pet's future before you die

In most cases, due to short life spans, your pet will pass away before you. In the instance of a possible tragic event or sudden illness that could eventually lead to your death, it would be wise to prepare for your pet's future without you.

There are a few steps to take beforehand, and a couple options to legalize your fluffy friend's protection should you pass away. What can you do to protect your pet? There are a couple options to consider to make sure your fluffy friend is protected if you are no longer around.

Steps to take to protect your pet:

  1. It is important to find two friends or relatives you find trustworthy and pet-friendly who will love and care for your pet in case of your death. This friend or relative would serve as a temporary emergency caregiver in case of the unexpected. It's important to provide feeding and care instructions and the name of your vet in case of emergencies.
  2. Provide your emergency caregivers with each other's names and contact numbers. Also, give your direct neighbors, friends and relatives the names and contact info of the selected emergency caregivers.
  3. It would be wise to post a removable sign in the style of "In case of emergency" or something similar showing what type of and how many pets you have. Do not user stickers as they can become worn or ripped and seen as old. It's possible that the emergency responders will assume the sticker is outdated and disregard it.
  4. Fasten a removable sign to the front and rear entrances of your home with emergency names and contact information.

Legal options to secure your pet's protection from the system

  1. Pet trust - A pet trust transfers legal ownership to a trust that includes proper instructions on how to take care of your pet and the money to pay for it. There are two steps to a trust: name a caregiver and assign a trustee to oversee that care and any related expenses. There are two types of pet trusts: traditional and statutory. Traditional trusts are legal in all 50 states where statutory trusts are only valid in some states.
  2. Will - Your will can include a provision to name an individual you would like to take care of your pet(s) once you pass away. If you so choose, you can also leave money toward their care to an individual of your choosing.

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