It’s interesting that so many Americans still don’t have wills, yet a recent survey of pet owners showed that almost half of them have taken steps to take care of their animal companions if they should die first. Perhaps pet owners know something that people without pets don’t?
However you feel about pets and wills, there are many ways to ensure that Bella, Luna, Sadie or Bailey will enjoy their lives in good care, after their humans are gone. Those include traditional financial planning instruments, like pet trusts, living trusts, annuities and even life insurance.
Forbes’s article, “3 Financial Planning Tips For Pets Owners,” says that typically, “pet estate plans” should cover more than simply who will care for the pet, when you are no longer around. Expenses such as food, doggie day care, grooming, veterinarian bills and medication should also be considered.
20% of all respondents in the survey said they have financially planned for their pets' future care. About 38% said they added the pet's future caregiver as a beneficiary to a life insurance policy and 35% added more coverage to their life policies. 13% also recently purchased annuities naming the pet's caregiver as the beneficiary.
However, many pet owners forget about end-of-life planning. Consider an individual trust for your pet or donating funds to your local humane society or pet shelter.
One question many have before adding a new animal to the family is whether they can afford it. The cost of an animal from a breeder can be high, so a more affordable option is to check out your local humane society or animal rescue group. Remember that the costs of food, vet bills and other supplies are just as important to think about, before making a pet a part of your family. Pets are too often returned to animal shelters, because pet parents were unable to afford to properly care for the pet.
Last, ask about pet insurance at your veterinarian. Many clinics offer plans and staff members will be able to talk to you about the right option based on the type of animal, breed, age and other criteria of your pet.
Pet owners usually think of their pets as members of the family, and planning for their “furry kids” is as important as planning for their children and grandchildren.
Reference: Forbes (January 27, 2019) “3 Financial Planning Tips For Pets Owners”