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Caissie Canine Instruction: Planning for your K9 in your Will

We begin this week’s “RUFF TAILS” featuring a beautiful 3-year-old German Shepherd named Gucci.

When Gucci first came into our lives, it was clear he carried baggage from his past as a rescue. The world seemed to overwhelm him, making even simple walks a task. We thought it would never get better, but with a little patience and Paul’s dedicated training, it all became better!!!

Now, instead of a hesitant pup, we have a goofy and lovable sweetheart who never fails to bring a smile to our faces. Thank you Caissie K9.

Welcome to Doggie Dialogue

I know this can be a sad topic, but sometimes a necessary topic to bring comfort and peace of mind to the pet owner, in times of need. We have had clients ask us how do I put my dog in my Will?

Under the law a pet is classified “property”, and you are allowed to name “the person” who you would want to give your pet to, if something happens to you. You are also allowed to make a “cash” gift to that individual under the Will to help care for your pet, with veterinary care, food, pet insurance (if needed) and any other supplies.

Unfortunately, no one will have control over how the money is used, except for the assigned person.

A more complex option would be to create a trust for your pet. The trustee would be bound to use the funds as specified. This type of trust is called a “non-charitable purpose trust”.

If you are considering adding a trust for your pets in your Will, be aware that these trusts generally only last for 21 years. Pets such as parrots, horses, or turtles can live much longer than this.

You also may run the risk of the trustee not honouring the arrangement and misuses the funds. Many trustees do not face any percussions as there is no beneficiary to enforce the trust.

Key takeaways for estate planning to include your pets, it is recommended to select the pet’s guardian, write detailed instructions for the pet care, and decide whether a cash legacy would be your best option for the individual taking over the responsibilities of the pet care.

If someone does not have any friends or family members that are able to take on their pets, there are also many amazing animal charities that can and will take on your pet with great pleasure and care.

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