It is difficult to consider -much less plan for -the future and the unavoidable details of our Wills and Testaments. Who will be the beneficiaries of our property and assets? Is there sufficient insurance to cover the settlement of our affairs?
In addition to careful estate planning on behalf of our heirs, how many Pet Parents have considered and actually appointed a Guardian for their pets?
Naturally, we expect to outlive our dogs and cats so this isn’t a common consideration, yet they are not only our “property”, but our responsibility to ensure a lifetime of care for them.
Many dogs and cats end up in shelters because their Parents have passed and no one in the family tree wants to assume ownership. In many cases, these are senior companion animals who have been lovingly cared for over the years only to be suddenly thrust into a cold and uncertain shelter environment (with less likelihood of adoption due to their maturity).
According to the Humane Society, there are approximately 2.7 million healthy shelter pets that are NOT adopted each year.
Those numbers would measurably improve in instances where a trusted Guardian is appointed. Taking an even bigger paw forward, consider setting money aside to ensure the Guardian has sufficient resources to continue lifetime pet care. (This might also include initial funds to transport the pets to another state if the Guardian does not reside in the Parent’s home town).
According to Michael Stern, Financial Representative for National Life Group in New York, his solution is to obtain a life insurance policy and leave part of the proceeds to an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) that will cover the living costs of your beloved pet.
Additionally, a Universal Life Insurance Policy offers other advantages as well; not only death benefits to pay for expenses, but also accumulated cash value for the Guardian’s benefit when the pet passes.
In a nutshell, death benefit protection and living benefits rolled into one package to guarantee lifetime comfort and pet care for your furry children.
The amount you designate will vary according to where you live, the age of your dog or cat and special needs beyond routine “food, shelter and clothing”. According to the ASPCA, the average cost of owning a small dog is $1314 per year; medium dog: $1580/year; large dog: $1843 and a cat: $1035.
These figures do NOT include unexpected Vet care, boarding (we advocate for cage-free boarding), higher-grade nutrition, pet sitters and walkers, or other extraordinary expenses or luxuries.
To be clear, pet insurance comes in many forms. A monthly insurance plan to cover Veterinarian expenses may already be factored into your budget and financial planning. (If not, and for a quick quote, see our link under the Partners and Products tab for Pet Insurance via Healthy Paws).
The bigger plan should be in preparing for the future and who will care for your dog or cat when you can’t…
Enjoy each day you have with your loved ones. May they be filled with peace, prosperity and happiness.