4 Resources to Protect Your Pet
In addition to creating a pet trust (read here), other steps you can take to protect your pet in the event of your incapacity or death include the following:
- Animal Card. You can prepare a card that you keep in your wallet or purse which tells whoever reads it about your pet or pets, their care needs, their veterinarian and who should be called in case of emergency. Here’s a sample wallet card and form to post at home (see below): http://2ndchance4pets.org/idcards.pdf
- Animal Document. This can be more expansive than the animal card and kept on your refrigerator or wherever you store your pet’s food or other pet care items. You might also give your estate planning attorney a copy to keep with your estate planning documents. Here’s a sample document: http://hautedogmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Information-for-Emergency-Care-Givers-of-My-Pet-Document2.pdf
- Door Sign. This will alert emergency workers in case of fire, or your illness or accident that there are pets inside. Here are places where you can purchases pet stickers at very reasonable cost: http://www.zazzle.com/pet_alert_emergency_square_sticker-217558093161097127 and http://www.safetysign.com/products/p88128/please-rescue-our-cat-sticker and http://www.petrescuestickers.com/PRS/Rescue-Stickers-Breed.aspx.
- Durable Power of Attorney. You might also add a provision to your durable power of attorney specifically authorizing your agent to care for your pet and to spend money on its behalf.
Without taking these steps, people who step in to take care of you may not know what to do and the pet could easily be sent to the animal shelter rather than put in the hands of the person or people you want to care for it. Remember, your pet can’t speak for itself.