Choosing a Pet Guardian or Permanent Caregiver

1 minute read

Although we view our pets as members of our families, the law takes an unfortunately cold look at the issue of pet ownership. If you die or become incapacitated, the law directs that your pets be treated the same as the rest of your property. Unless an immediate heir elects to care for your pet, pets of deceased owners often end up in shelters. Choosing a permanent caregiver can make sure your pet still has a future after you’re gone.

If possible, choose someone who has already familiar to your pet, and ideally has already provided care to them. Someone who currently has pets of their own may seem like a good idea, but make sure they can accommodate additional ones. Crowding or conflict can prevent an otherwise qualified and willing caregiver from being able to house your pet. Take into account if your pet has any special medical needs a new caregiver may need to provide.

Check-in with your chosen guardian from time-to-time, especially as circumstances change. A new home, new pets or children in their home, or new needs your pet develops may change a person’s ability or willingness to provide care. Communicating with them regularly helps ensure that they are still able to be part of your plan.

It is helpful to select two or more potential caregivers in advance just in case your first choice’s circumstances do change. You can name multiple successive guardians in your pet trust In the event that no one can care directly for your pet, you may also direct a trusted guardian to be responsible for finding your pet a new home.