What Happens to Your Pet If You Die?

No one wants to think of their pet passing on – it’s a sad and upsetting thought. What many don’t consider is what happens to your pet when you pass on. Unlike your children, significant others, friends, and family, your pet cannot merely continue with their life by their own accord. Without proper estate planning, your pets may be put in an animal shelter against your wishes. When the time comes, you want your loved ones, furry or otherwise, to be taken care of.  

In Canada, by law, you’re not allowed to leave money specifically to an animal. Pets are considered property, so the options for taking care of Fluffy or Fang after you’re gone are related to them being recognized as such. This means you can’t just leave a pile of money to your pet. There are, however, creative ways to make sure your pet’s financial needs are covered after you pass. 

Here are some of the options:

Pet Trust

A pet trust is included in your Will and allows you to transfer ownership of your pet to a beneficiary that you trust. Within this trust, you’ll leave financial compensation for the new owner that will cover veterinary bills, grooming, food, and any other necessities. This option involves a few people taking care of your pet after you die: a trustee and a caregiver. The caregiver is the individual who will offer love and attention to your pet or pets. The trustee, or trustees, will be responsible for the financial side of pet care and to make sure the needs of the pet, as laid out in the trust, are met. This option gives you the most control over the well-being of your pet after you’re gone, but it’s also the most expensive option. 

Simple Will Provision

If a pet trust seems too extreme, expensive, or intense for you, there’s a more straightforward answer. You can include a provision in your Will that leaves your pet to a beneficiary of your choosing. You can also leave money to that person for their care, but there’s no trustee to manage this and make sure the money is used for pet care. 

A Succession Plan

Instead of having to factor your pet into your Will, a succession plan may be a better option for you. Creating a clear strategy that you can communicate to those responsible for caring for your pet is an excellent alternative to creating or altering a will. This plan will include care instructions, medical history, training certifications, and the needs and habits of your pet. This plan also won’t come with the hefty bill that a Will Provision or a Pet Trust will. 

Do Nothing

I think we can all agree that doing nothing isn’t an option. If you do nothing to plan for your pet after you’re gone, they could end up in an animal shelter. By not having an end-of-life plan for your pet, you risk having no say in their treatment after you’re gone. 

If you feel like a succession plan is the right choice for you, we can help. The best part about a Check-Out Pet Success Plan is that you use it for more than end-of-life planning. This plan is something that you can also provide to housesitters or pet sitters any time your pet needs care while you’re away or on vacation. Set up your pet’s success plan for free today!