Estate planning is part of the broader legal specialty of elder law, so estate planning attorneys stay abreast of all of the issues that are relevant to seniors. Clearly, the health and well-being of our nations elders is a matter of great importance. From a psychological perspective, seniors can sometimes experience loneliness and the loss of a sense of purpose once they are retired and their family members have become independent. Clearly, this can lead to depression, and short of that simply decrease the quality of life of some seniors.
One response to this would be to acquire a pet. As they say, the dog is man’s best friend and many seniors could use just that. Dogs and cats provide companionship, entertainment, and a certain brand of love that perhaps can’t be proven but it is experienced all the same. Because the pet relies on its owner for food, shelter, and exercise pet ownership can provide that missing sense of purpose that can leave some seniors feeling empty.
Seniors who own pets do have to consider the possibility of the pet outliving them and they must make plans to address this possibility. Basically you need to achieve two things: find a caregiver, and make sure that this individual has the financial resources to care for the pet. Many people already have a family member or friend who has demonstrated affection for the animal, so you may be able to find a caretaker among those are closest to you.
As for financing, you have a couple different choices. You can simply leave a bequest in your will directly to the caretaker, and this is what many people will do. However, in many states you have the option of creating a pet trust. To find out more details, simply arrange for an initial consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney who has a thorough understanding of pet planning.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.