Did You Remember to Take Care of Fido or Mimi?
Pets are our family and, for some of us, our only family. Yet, do we always remember to provide for them if we become incapacitated or die? Unfortunately, many people forget to specifically plan for their pets and when problems arise about taking care of the pets, planning may be too late.
First, let us discuss incapacity. If you become incapacitated, then you may no longer be able to care for your pet. If you have named an agent under a Durable Power of Attorney you can provide for what happens with your pet, such as whether your agent can pay the vet bills, whether your pet can stay with you in your home or, if not, where the pet should go. You can even direct visitation with your pet if you are not at home. These considerations should be explained to your agent so your agent knows your desires.
Now, let’s discuss what happens upon your death. Did you know that Florida provides for a pet trust? Under Section 736.0408 of the Florida Statutes, you can create a pet trust for your loving animal. If you decide not to create a pet trust, then, at least, document in your will and/or trust what you want to have happen to your pet. Too many times a pet is the last issue beneficiaries consider after a death and, unfortunately, the pet could end up being euthanized unnecessarily, especially when there are a lot of owners who would love a pet that has been trained and accustomed to a good home. You can also provide a financial incentive for a person taking your pet. It is very hard to enforce that the money is actually being used for your pet’s needs, but if you pick the right person, making such a provision is a good alternative to provide for your pet.
ADVICE: Look over the Florida statute and decide whether a pet trust is an option for you. Consult with an attorney to make provisions in your documents reflecting your desires if you leave a pet behind. Also, you should make very clear whether, if necessary, you would want the pet to be placed in a “no kill” shelter or whether you would want your pet to be placed in any shelter. Your pets are often your best friends. Don’t forget to plan for them! To read about a pet trust of the rich and famous look at what happened with Leona Helmsley’s dog, Trouble, who no doubt created a lot of it!!!!
GENEROSITY IS A KEY TO HAPPINESS …REACH OUT AND HELP SOMEONE TODAY!
Word of the Week:”per stirpes”. A Latin word meaning “by roots or stocks”. In the legal world, the term “per stirpes” means that a distribution is proportionately divided between beneficiaries based on their deceased ancestors’ share. A, B, and C are siblings. Each get a 1/3 share of their parent’s D’s estate, PER STIRPES. A dies before D. Upon D’s death, A’s children get A’s 1/3 share. If A had 2 children then each child would get 1/6 of the total (1/3 divided by 2). Remember per stirpes is NOT spelled per stripes.