Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Estate planning for pets

If you've ever looked at a loved pet and could only hope s/he would be taken care of in case you die first -- ahem! in case you predecease her or him -- you can do more than just hope.

A new book for caring pet owners tells you how to assure your pet(s) will be OK if . . . the 18-wheeler finishes you off first. Written by two lawyers who work in estate planning, the book is Who Will Care When You're Not There? Estate Planning for Pet Owners. (They just don't write short titles anymore.)

Authors Robert E. Kass and Elizabeth A. Carrie, who practice law at the same Detroit firm, wrote this book for animal owners who have good intentions but also qualms about how to protect their pets. Although a legal guide, the book includes full-color illustrations and inspirational quotes – and you’d hardly find them in your family attorney's office.

The book promo reports that the Humane Society of the US estimates “4-6million pets are euthanized from shelters each year, many of which are due to failure of the deceased pet owner to make proper provisions in his or her estate plan.”

And “proper” means not ambiguous. Merely leaving word to “take care of the cat,” for instance, could mean different things to different people, depending on their feelings about the cat and the deceased, and the amount of money left for the purpose.

Published last month by Carob Tree Press, LLC, Who Will Care When You’re Not There sells for $24.95. ISBN: 978-0-615-44340-9.

With or without this guide, please give some thought – and do some planning -- for what will happen to your pet(s) in case you’re incapacitated, unexpectedly absent or dealing with an emergency, as well as at your death.

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