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Pre-plan for Precious Pets in Your Final Will

You divied up the stocks and bonds for your sisters and brothers. Remembered your niece with the jade necklace. Left the Bradford Exchange collectible plates to the next door neighbour. Too bad you forgot Clover the Goldendoodle in your final will.

No Pet Clause Means No Guarantees

We know you meant well. It’s understandable you left out your beloved pet friend in the excitement of writing a last will and testament. While your family and friends will probably come to your furry friend’s aid, it may not be what you planned for your loyal mascot. Pets are family members. They deserve to be included in your will.

Pets Are Better Listeners

Think of the many ways your pets have comforted you. Having a pet can even help vulnerable family members you leave behind. A U.K. study of 54 adults with severe mental illness found 46% considered pets more important than family, friends, health care workers or hobbies. In study after study, adults with life-long disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression said pets offer unconditional love. They were better able to manage knowing their pets were companions for life and relied on them for care.   

Health Care Experts Agree

Health experts couldn’t agree more. Dogs and cats even reduce childhood allergies like asthma and obesity. A CHILD (Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development) study of 746 babies discovered infants exposed to furry animals shared higher levels of protective bacteria they got from family pets. They were also less likely to get Strep B after birth. 

Rescue Dogs Do Double Duty

Babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from having a pet. Your partner may suffer a tremendous shock if you get a chronic illness like Alzheimer Disease or heart failure. You can trust a pet to help them recover. Harvard Medical School reports dog owners have lower blood pressure and less heart disease than non-owners. Pets’ funny antics and empathy are a bright light in times of grief and a calming influence on stressed out owners. 

Dogs Are Hardwired to Save Your Life

A pet is more than a friend in times of need. Arizona State University psychologists found dogs are hard wired to save you. Having owners call out for help from inside a closed box prompted 19 of 60 dogs to break open the box to rescue them. Dogs who didn’t get their owners out of trouble walked around, barked, whined or yawned. The psychologists believe the stressed canines would have helped, if they had figured out how to open the box.

A Real Canadian Hero

Your dog may not be the brightest, but we bet her loyalty is not in question. Shelby made the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 2019 for protecting her owner from a black bear attack. The 14-year-old Sault Ste. Marie rescue dog, a German Shepherd and Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix, rushed to Louise Robillard’s defence when a mother bear charged the pair on their daily walk.  

Escaping a Burning Home Thanks to Rescue Dog

Fellow Niagara-on-the-Lake hero Tucker saved his family from a raging house fire. Tucker’s owners Rachel Spiewak and Jason Chafe escaped the burning home with their sons after the six-year-old Shepherd and Rottweiler mix pawed at their bed to alert them to the blaze. The intense inferno destroyed their home but thanks to Tucker, not their lives.

Planning Your Pet’s Final Days

What better reason to provide for pets in your will than knowing what a comfort they are to you and your family. Clover may live 10 to 15 years. If she outlives you, can you ensure your family will see her off with the dignity and loving care you intended? 

Pre-planning Respects Your Final Wishes

Pre-planning takes the guesswork out of ensuring your pet receives the veterinarian care you want her to have at the end of her life. Your will can specify if you would like a vet to take extraordinary measures to save your pet in case of a serious accident or illness or gather your family to say goodbye. Your family will know they are doing the right thing. You can be assured that when your pet’s time is near, she won’t suffer unnecessarily. 

Day-to-Day Care of Your Pet

While you’re revising your will, you can appoint a pet guardian in case you die or are incapacitated and leave money for food, grooming, vet bills and other expenses. A condition precedent will arrange a cash gift for the guardian provided they care for your pet (choose carefully — despite your will, they have no legal obligation to use the money as directed). A pet trust appoints both a guardian and a trustee to make sure your money is spent according to your written plan. When your pet dies, whatever is left in the trust can be distributed to anyone you request or a charity of your choice.

Making Funeral Arrangements in Advance 

Pet crematoriums and burial services help you prepare a funeral plan to attach to your final will. You can pick out an urn or burial site and take care of little details like arranging for a cast of your pet’s paw as a memento for family members. A little pre-planning now takes the stress out of an emotional time for everyone involved. 

Add a Pet Care Clause to an Ontario Will

Adding a pet clause to a will is easy enough. Axess Law Ontario wills and estate lawyers video conference with you to update your will or draft a personal will for you. Dial toll free to 1-877-552-9377 or 647-479-0118 in Toronto or use our online booking form to make an online video call appointment anywhere in Ontario. In person meetings can be arranged at our Toronto, Scarborough, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Ottawa, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland law offices. 
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s wills and estate services.

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