What will happen to my pets after I am gone? An Estate Planning Blog in Portland, Oregon

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The estate planning attorneys with Nay & Friedenberg explain how to plan with your pets in mind.

Many people assume that a family member or friend will step up to provide care for their pets in the event of the owner’s passing.  Your lack of planning can leave a pet in a situation where they could be neglected by someone who is not well equipped to care for them. Worst case, the pet becomes euthanized if no one is willing to take the responsibility for the pet’s care.

We recommend to plan for many possibilities and avoid lack of planning.  Follow the steps below and to plan for your four-legged children:

Caregiver Selection

Your first consideration who should care for the pets in your absence.  Many considerations go into selecting the appropriate caregiver.  The caregiver’s lifestyle and the pets’ needs should be compatible.  For example, will your poodle fit in with a house with several other dogs?  Will your cat be happy in a home with lots of children?

When a caregiver is selected, your will should include a specific devise of the pet to the chosen caregiver. (Pets are considered “personal property” under Oregon law.)  We recommend choosing a back up caregiver in case something happens to the first choice.

Animal Shelter Assistance

Local animal shelters take in pets and find them homes.  Most shelters have programs that guarantee that the pet will be placed in a home. However placement is because the owner includes the organization in the owner’s estate planning.  Pet owners should contact the local shelter for more information about that organization’s program.

Pet Information Sheet

We suggest documenting care information for all of your pets.  Educate the caregiver and let them know the quality of care your pet needs.  In addition, this documentation will ensure the adoptive family is the best fit for the animal.

Providing Funds for the Care of the Pet

We recommend providing funds for the pet’s care to ensure that your wishes will be carried out.  The nominated caregiver may decline taking responsibility for the pet if money is a concern.  In your will, you can create a gift of a specific amount to the pet’s caregiver.  For instance, you may decide for a formal arrangement such as the establishment of a pet trust.  In conclusion, Oregon and Washington law recognizes pet trusts.

Contact the Estate Planning Lawyers with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment. We want to help you include your pets in your estate plan.