How to Include Pets in your Estate Plan

The continued care of your beloved dog, cat or other companion animal is a concern raised by a many pet owners. These animals bring you comfort, give love and can be as close to you as your family ever was. You don’t want to abandon your animal friends.

Several situations may arise that require immediate care for your pets. Sudden illness may take you away from them. You may gradually lose the ability to care for them due to your own infirmity. Or you may die, leaving them alone.

You can plan to be certain they will not be abandoned. I suggest that any pet owner do the following:

  1. Arrange for a backup caretaker for your pets. You should always have someone who checks on your well-being regularly. If they find that you are ill, they should know whom to contact to care for your pets.

  2. Leave written emergency instructions. Do your pets take any medications? Where is their food, and how much do they get? Who is their veterinarian?

  3. Be certain that you have a Durable Power of Attorney in place. It would allow your agent to access your funds, and provide resources so your pets’ caretaker can buy supplies and pay the vet.

  4. Mention your pet or pets in your Last Will and Testament. Texas law had no formal method to leave funds for your animals’ care until 2006. Then the legislat