back up planWhen you have a family you always want to have a back up plan. Who will care for them in case you are in an accident, or worse if you pass away unexpectedly? We often plan for our human family, but what about our pets? It’s important to make sure that they are well taken care of if you aren’t’ around. After all, they don’t have a voice or a choice in what happens to them.

Amy Shever, a volunteer at an animal shelter in California said that she saw too many pets given to a shelter after their owners passed away. The owner’s children weren’t able to care for the pet so they would turn them over to the shelter. She said they “would just curl up in a ball and wouldn’t eat. When you have a dog that’s been sitting on someone’s lap or sleep in someone’s bed… the experience at a shelter can be incredibly overwhelming for them, and many of them become despondent (source).”

How to Plan For Your Pets:


  • Identify a replacement caregiver

The first thing you have to do is find someone that will care for your pet in the event you are unable to care for them. Speak with all of your friends and family, your vet and pet sitters. You can’t just assume that your children or family will care for your pet. You have to avoid misunderstandings, you need to have commitments in place.

  • Get a back up for that caregiver

It is possible that your initial caregiver’s situation may change and they may end up not being the best fit for your pet. That’s why you need to pick out alternative caregivers. Try to have a few “understudies” that are willing to care for your pet just in case.

  • Set Expectations

Make sure your planned caregiver knows what your pet needs. Lay out the details your pet’s medical history and daily care needs. Have the information easily accessible and make sure to include the standard of living you want for your pet, including medical care and end-of-life decisions.

  • Create a fund for them

One of biggest concerns people have in caring for a loved one’s pet is the monetary strain. That’s why it is imperative to have at least a small fund to set aside to cover your pet’s future expenses. The Humane Society states, “You can designate the trustee of your pet trust as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a bank account that’s payable upon your death. This ensures the trustee has immediate cash to devote to your pet’s care.”

  • Make a formal arrangement

Don’t leave your pet’s care up to a verbal arrangement. You need to make a formal arrangement in your will as well as any other estate documents you may have. That way you can be assured your pet(s) will be taken care of in the way you wish.


It’s always important to make arrangements for your pet’s care in every day as well as in case you are no longer around. As pet parents, we will always want the best for them and that’s why we always need a back up plan. And we’re always here to help you in any way you need. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about estate planning for your pet. We’d be happy to connect you with the resources you need for your peace of mind. 


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