A Pet Guardian AgreementSM can protect your pets if you become incapacitated.
When developing a client’s estate plan, attorneys commonly focus on arranging for the management of the client’s financial affairs when they die or if they become incapacitated. For the pet parent however, it is also important to consider who will care for your pets if you became incapacitated.
The normal estate planning documents, (i.e. Powers of Attorney) that an attorney prepares, unfortunately, only concern management of your finances if you become incapacitated. The Pet Guardian Agreement SM is designed to assure you that your pets will be cared for if, due to illness or accident, you are unable to do so yourself.
A well-drafted Pet Guardian Agreement SM does not simply name the person who will care for your pets. Rather, it should indicate whether your Pet Guardian is going to be paid for her services and if so, how much. It should name an alternate Pet Guardian in case the named Pet Guardian can no longer care for your pets. Your Agreement should, also, reflect your position on euthanatizing a pet if it becomes ill, and should name the shelter, rescue or organization that you would want your pets to be delivered to if the Guardian is no longer able to care them. You, also, want to be sure that the Guardian has current information on any special dietary or medical needs that your pets have, including contact information for the veterinarian.
The normal Pet Guardian Agreement SM is a contract between you and the Pet Guardian defining the care that will be provided to your pets by the Pet Guardian. The Pet Guardian Agreement SM should, also, include a limited Durable Power of Attorney so that others will know what authority the Pet Guardian has.
Finally, be sure that your friends and family know in advance who has agreed to serve as the Pet Guardian for your pets, and how they can be contacted. In case of an emergency, you want to know that the Pet Guardian will be contacted so she can timely arrange to get your pets. A card with your Pet Guardian’s contact information can, also, be carried in your purse or wallet.