If Something Happens To Me, Who Will Care For My Pet?

Putting your pet in your will.

It’s hard to think about, but making arrangements for your pets after your death is a way to ensure their future if something should happen to you. 

Maybe you’re going through a difficult time right now, or perhaps you’re simply thinking ahead. Either way, it’s a good idea to think about who will care for your pet if something should happen to you, and Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital wants to help you do it.

Who Will Care for My Pets When I Die? 

The first step is to decide who you want your pet to be with–someone you know, like a friend or family member? Or a new family?

If you have a family member or friend in mind to take care of your pet, speak with them to make sure they’re willing and able to do so. You want to ensure that your pet goes to someone willing and able to care for them.

Ask yourself these questions about any potential caregiver for your pet:

  • Do they like animals?
  • Do they have experience with pets?
  • Are they responsible and trustworthy?
  • Will they have the time?
  • Do they have the financial resources? If not, can you bequeath the funds for your pet’s care in your will?

If your chosen caretaker agrees to take your pet, you can take the next step and create a formal or informal care contract to make it official.

Should You Create a Care Contract?

To establish clear expectations and responsibilities, consider creating an informal or formal care contract with the person who’ll be caring for your pet. An informal contract is simply a verbal or written agreement between you and the other party.

You can also make a formal provision in your will for your pet’s care.

Another option is to set up a limited durable power of attorney. These documents give family members (or whomever you appoint) specific rights in the event you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This allows someone you trust to make decisions regarding your pet if you’re incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has several helpful resources available to help you plan for your pet’s care, including a free pet planning packet.

Long-Term Care of Pets with Deceased Owners

Your veterinarian may have suggestions about where to turn to ensure your pet will be taken care of after you’re gone. If your plans are already in place, you may want to inform your veterinarian to ensure the continuity of your pet’s medical care.

PetPeaceofMind.com is a national organization that helps seriously ill people care for their pets, advocates with hospitals, home-care organizations, and hospices to keep patients and their pets together, and helps facilitate new homes for orphaned pets when necessary.

It’s sad to consider, but it’s important to be prepared. By making plans for your pet to go to a caring home, you can ensure that your beloved pet will have a secure, happy life after you’re gone.

Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital is here to help your pet stay healthy and happy throughout all life’s phases. Please reach out if we can be of assistance.