Planning for Your Beloved Animal Companions
One of the most important aspects of estate planning is preparing for your animal companions’ future—for the time when you are no longer there to care for them yourself.
Our companion animals are an integral part of our lives, and we know that they depend on us completely. So it is crucial to make careful preparations now for their future care.
You can incorporate important steps into your estate planning to ensure the long-term well-being of your animals and also make their transition to a life without you as stress-free as possible for them.
Please contact us to get a helpful planning packet that can help guide you as you prepare for the future of your animal companions. The packet contains all the items that you need to help you organize and implement a long-term plan, including the following:
- A 12-page detailed booklet (click here to view a sample page)
- An emergency window decal
- An emergency-contact wallet card
- An emergency-contact card for home
- An instruction form for emergency caregivers
- An instruction form for family and friends
The following are some of the most important planning steps:
- Identify one or more trusted people who can come into your home at a moment’s notice to care for and comfort your animals until their long-term care is arranged. It is important for the person to be familiar with your animals and vice versa.
- Select long-term guardian(s) for your animals now. Choose someone who is trustworthy, capable, and willing to take complete responsibility for your animals. It is a good idea to name one or more backups, if possible.
- Files on each of your animals should be maintained and kept in your home. This will help in an emergency and can be used to find the best new homes for your animals. The files should include, at a minimum, names to contact in an emergency; your animals’ names, years of birth, and genders; the name and location of your veterinarian; your animals’ diets, feeding schedules, personalities, likes, and dislikes; and a description of their daily routines. The files should be updated at least annually, and critical information should be carried in your wallet as well. (PETA’s planning packet contains forms for all this information.)
- Consult with your attorney to complete your estate plans, including providing for the future of your animal companions (e.g., through a provision in your will or a “pet trust,” which is now allowed in 39 states). These provisions are another area in which you can specify in detail how your animals should be cared for when you have passed on.
- Put a “Please save our animals” sticker in a location that is visible from outside your house, such as a window or a door, in case of an emergency. (This sticker is also included in PETA’s planning packet.)
Request a Companion Animal Planning Packet
To request a Companion Animal Planning Packet or to request information about leaving a legacy to PETA in your will, please e-mail us at Legacy@peta.org. Thank you.