You have heard in the news lately about a little Chihuahua named Conchita that was left a three million dollar trust fund and the mansion in Miami Beach to live in with the staff. Her owner, heiress Gail Posner, recently died and left her beloved three dogs more than she left her own flesh and blood son. He only received one million. Now it is becoming a huge legal battle on him gaining the estate and the money and not having it left to the dogs and some of the staff that has lived and worked there.
This brings up a great point in any pet parents lives, what will happen to their pet in the unfortunate timing of their death. No death is planned, but what happens afterwards can be. People draft up a will everyday to establish how their debts will be paid, who will be the trustee, who will get money and who will get the belongings, but what people fail to think about is their animals. They just assume their family or friends will want them and will provide for them. More often than not the families do take them in, but there are certain occasions where they do not. If a family already had three dogs and now they just cannot take on Auntie Kim’s four dogs and two cats, so they end up in a shelter. Sometimes the deceased does not have any family and the animals end up in a shelter. All of this can be avoided if pet parents take the time to create a will to show how their animals need to be taken care of.
Wills are not hard to draft up and an attorney that specializes in wills can help any person create a legal will that explains everything that needs to happen in the event that they die. Creating a will to some people creates a sense of death that some do not like, but in the long run it creates a great accomplishment for the ones that are left behind. If people have a life insurance policy, they just have to decide who gets what from it and how much to leave for the care of the pets. Caring for the pets is only one portion of it, pet parents need to talk to their family or friends to make sure they will take the animals and provide for them, first. Once they have established who will take them then they need to establish how much to leave them.
When thinking about how much money should be left it should be factored upon many things, but most importantly based upon how much money is being left behind. Some may have a life insurance policy that is only enough for the burial, others may not even have a life insurance policy. If pet parents do have enough in their life insurance policy then there here are some things to think about when considering how much will be enough.
- How old is the animal? How long is it estimated for that animal to live? Like a small breed dog can live up to fifteen plus years, but a large breed dogs may only live up to seven. Some birds can live to be 40 years old.
- Figure how much does food cost per month and times it by twelve months, then by how many years that animal may have left.
- Figure out maintenance veterinary care for the animal and factor that by how many years that animal may live.
- If there is enough, figure in extras for emergency care for the animal as well.
Here is an example. If a pet parent has a Labrador retriever mixed type dog, they can live to about ten years old or so. If this dog is already three years old, that would leave about seven years to live with a new pet parent. Dog food costs about $20-$30 per a 50-pound bag. The dog can go thru that 50-pound bag in about two months from eating about three cups a day. For a year it would cost $120-$180 for just dog food. Veterinary care for one year including vaccinations ($100+), Heartguard ($240), and routine visits (100+) can run about $440 or more. Then you have emergencies like a bee sting that could run $100 for the office visit, steroids for swelling and something for itching. A broken leg could run $500-$1,000 for x-rays and cast or surgery if needed. There are always emergencies. The total for this dog to live comfortably with care could cost the new pet parent $560 – $620 per year with no emergencies. Now for seven years that total is $3,920 – $4,340. Most people do not think about this because they just pay it for their beloved fur baby.
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