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BustopherJones

Providing For Our Pets

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I have a question that is a matter of curiosity. But it may also prompt some to ponder an issue that they otherwise might not have considered.

 

None of us likes to think about his/her mortality. But eventually we must face the inevitable. I am perhaps closer to that inevitability (due to age, not illness) than many on this board. Hence, my question: Has anyone made any provisions to ensure that someone will provide for their dog(s) after their demise? What did you do?

 

In my case, I have provided in my will a trust fund to ensure that my pets are taken care. Each surviving pet will have $5,000 set aside from my estate. Of this, $2,500 would go to whoever adopted the pet after the adoption (including any of my children), to offset the cost of owning the pet, with the provision that the pet would be taken to our current vet for any treatment; the recipient would not be aware of the bequest until after the adoption is completed, however. The other $2,500 would go to my vet, to provide for medical care for the pet for the rest of the pet?s life. (The vet, who I trust implicitly and who has a personal love for my pets, has already agreed to this, no matter what the accumulated medical costs; if the accumulated costs over the pet?s lifetime exceed $2,500, the vet will eat the balance, and if it is less, the residual will be donated to Paws Aid.)

 

Does this sound like a logical plan to you? Does anyone have any better ideas? (I can always incorporate your ideas into my next will revision.) Thanks for any feedback.

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It's a great and wonderful thing to do, but make sure you check out the legality and enforceability of it in your state.

If it is in a will, the probate court may not approve it since pets can't own property and I have read horror stories based on similiar good intentions.

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That's a nice idea but my only concern was that someone might adopt to get the money. Kind of like the people who'd foster children to get some extra money.

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Gary - An excellent point. The way the trust is set up (my attorney, a long-time family friend, is the trustee), it is ironclad and legal in our state, and conforms to probate laws. In addition, the will contains a completely legal "poison pill" provision; if any heir challenges any provision of the will, he/she automatically forfeits his/her share of the estate if the challenge is not upheld by the courts.

 

INU - That is why the provisions of the trust, and the money itself, will not be disclosed to a prospective adoptee until after the adoption is complete. My hope is that my children will take the animals, and thus receive the benefit. But one already has a dog (that happens to hate cats), and might not take the dogs. The other lives in a condo that does not allow dogs; he would probably take the cats, but that would leave the dogs to be placed if the the older child did not take the dogs. (Incidentally, I neglected to mention that our vet must approve the prospective adoptee before the adoption can be finalized, if the adoptee is not within the family.)

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

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I think this is a great idea and rather spooky that you posted this today. I just yesterday sent an e-mail out to my mother and two other friends telling them where my dogs are to go in the event something happens to me. It is nothing official, but I wanted to make it known where I want each dog to go just in case something does happen to me.

 

I left one person specifically in charge of placing each dog with the people I have requested. Any dogs that I might obtain in the future (that are not on the list), that he feels could benefit someone else, are to be sold to good homes only. The money that is made from the sale of those dogs is to be divided up equally between my mom and two friends to offset the cost of the dog(s) they have inherited.

 

I also have a small card in my wallet with emergency numbers and one contact number is so a friend can be notified to come get my dogs if needed.

 

I'm only 41, so I don't expect anything to happen to me anytime soon, but you never know, and I wanted to be sure that my dogs would be taken care of.

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A good example of what might happen if you don't make provisions for your animals is a rescue boy I had.

 

BG is what I named him, because, although he was someone's beloved, overindulged and older pet border collie, when I picked him up no one even knew his name.

 

BG's owner died leaving the fate of his 2 dogs to uncaring relatives, one a senior border collie and the other a little nondescript shepherd cross. The relatives, when they came in to clean the house, clean it they did. They discarded the 2 dogs, who were probably were wondering where their owner was, and they were basically put to the curb along with the garbage bags. AC was called to take the dogs away. No history, no names, no nothing. This is how they left their home, were brought to the shelter and subsequently BG to my house. Although he was a senior dog, we had to wipe the slate clean and start anew. The shelter had a high kill rate, 3x a week, and they called me on the border collie. I took him home where he lived another 3 yrs. BG died last May.

 

It was heartbreaking to watch him at the dog park, looking at each older man who walked in and attaching himself to them, following them around, lying at their feet--he was searching for his owner. Others thought it was cute, but I knew what what in that dog's mind. ---to his last day, he was still his owner's dogs. When he would finally tire, he'd come and lie at my feet, ready to go back home.

 

That sad sight of a dog always looking for his master, well, that really drove the point home to me just how important it is to make provisions for your animals.

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Vicki, that gave me tears! I always feel bad for dogs like that. Some have only known one master. How sad and confusing for them. A fate worse than death if you ask me.

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There is a parrot rescue here that requires you to make care arranements before you can adopt a bird. Makes alot of sense since parrots can live for 70 years.

My family knows I want my dogs mentioned in my obit. I should be around for a while even though I got run over by one horse yesterday and got bucked off the other today. My old bones will be happy when this holiday ends and I go back to work.

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I have a paper filed with my will and trust with our lawyer that makes arrangements for Ferg if Chuck & I predecease her.

 

She goes to our daughter and her family. As she teaches in daycare and he's a park ranger, they can't afford a dog. So I have provisions that quarantee up to a specific amount each year, including the costs of food, vet, boarding, toys....

 

Ferg loves Mari - and the rest of the family. And, as she's already 9, she'd be fine for 6-8 hours a day. But Keith gets home for lunch anyhow.

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Vicki that story is so sad. What happened to the other dog? To not only lose your master but then your best pet buddy too :rolleyes:

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My son and I have registered all our dogs in both our names. He is my only child and my will states he inherits all when that time comes. We have talked about the dogs. He has two which I would keep. He has a favorite or two of my border collies he would keep and work a little bit on the farm....he would sell the other trained working dogs. He knows he would never work them all and feels it would be unfair to expect them to become nonworking dogs. I am sure that he would be much more particular about a good home than amount of sale money. It is very wise to make plans / provisions for our dogs. I would be horrified to think of mine ending up in a shelter.

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What happened to the other dog
As often as that shelter euthanizes, I'm sure she was put to sleep. I wish I could have taken her, but I didn't have the room. I have two visuals that haunt me and they are of two separate non-descript dogs--one was BG's buddy, a sweet looking shepherd cross, the other was of a little gray dog who I made eye contact with in a shelter---I mean REALLY made eye contact with. I didn't take her. I have no doubt she was put down. Those two visuals haunt me to this very day.

 

In retrospect, I might have done things differently.

 

Anyway, BG is with his master now and his buddy.

 

Actually, I think lessons learned from all weren't really wasted, because right now I have Chase, another non-descript dog, PB BC, I'm almost positive, who had languished in a shelter since November---nothing about him jumps out and says "Hey, look at me! Don't you want to take me home?" It was because of those two other dogs that I took a chance on Chase and he is wonderful. He'll make someone a great dog--although, I'm falling in love myself!!!

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This is the provision I have in my Will:

 

I give and bequeath whatever dogs I may own at the time of my death to my husband, XXX, if he survives me. If he does not survive me, I direct my Personal Representative to sell or otherwise place any dogs I may own at the time of my death to good homes where they will be well treated. In determining the placement of my dogs, I request my Personal Representative to consult with [YYY, address], and [ZZZ, address] for advice and assistance regarding placement of the dogs, and to give the dogs away rather than selling them if they can thereby be assured of the placement most desirable for their welfare. The happiness and well-being of the dogs is to be the sole consideration in determining their placement.

 

I am fortunate that I absolutely trust my husband and/or my personal representative (executor) to carry out my wishes faithfully (and the two people I ask them to consult with are good and knowledgeable dog people). In a case where you DO have someone you can trust, I think an informal arrangement like this is preferable to a trust, because a trust can have a lot of formalities connected with it and is always subject to the direction of the court. For example, a trustee can petition the court to allow him fees and expenses out of the trust amount for administering the trust. (Or a dispute might arise as to whether the vet was not performing a desirable medical procedure because its cost would exceed the available fund, and any interested party would be entitled to take that dispute to court, etc.) If you have full confidence that your trustee will not do that, great, but if you have that much confidence in him, why not give him the flexibility to act without setting up a trust?

 

Also, it sounds as if all the duties of the trustee will be completed relatively quickly (i.e., the money will be distributed to the adopters and the vet soon after the dogs are adopted, rather than being dispensed over time as maintenance expenses and vet services are incurred)? If so, those duties could be assigned to your executor, it seems to me, since they would be completed well within the six months or so that is the minimum time period for winding up the administration of an estate. Usually, a trust only needs to be set up when funds must be held for a long period of time and doled out by someone other than the beneficiary.

 

I don't believe that money for upkeep would be an issue in my situation, but if I thought it would be, I could easily add to the above provision something like: "I give and bequeath the sum of $$$$ to my Personal Representative, and request that he or she distribute that sum to the persons with whom my dogs shall be placed, allotting to each the portion that my Personal Representative believes, in the exercise of his or her best judgment, is proportionate to the anticipated needs of each dog." (I'd do it that way rather than a flat amount to each, because of the differing ages, etc. of my dogs.)

 

I have a couple of other concerns about the way you did it, Bustopher. First, if no one knows the fund exists before they commit to take the dog(s), maybe no one will take them. The trustee cannot MAKE anyone take a dog -- they become the property of whoever you will them to, or whoever you leave your personal property to. That beneficiary may do with them as s/he will. I would worry that the dogs might be taken to the pound because none of your relatives or friends was able/willing to take care of them without the bequest, and they didn't know there would be a bequest. Also, providing that the adopter must use your vet limits the potential adopters to those living in proximity to the vet, and rules out someone farther away who might be a better choice as an adopter. But of course you know your own situation best, and maybe these are not concerns in your particular case.

 

BTW, the reason I have that wording about giving the dogs away, and their happiness and well-being being the sole consideration, is that my dogs have a monetary value as trained stockdogs, and without that provision my executor would be under a fiduciary duty to get the most money he could for them, which might mean selling them to the highest bidder. Needless to say, that's not what I'd want. I've discussed what I want for each of my dogs with my husband and my successor Personal Representative, and the current plan is that they would go to friends who would not be expected to pay for them. But it's usually hard to know in advance what the circumstances will be when you happen to die.

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First, if no one knows the fund exists before they commit to take the dog(s), maybe no one will take them. I would worry that the dogs might be taken to the pound.
Your point would be a valid issue of concern, Eileen, and certainly merits consideration. Obviously, in my posts, I have not cited every aspect of the provisions. In the event of both of our deaths, our vet will take our dogs until they are placed. The vet has promised us (and we believe her) that the dogs will be kept at the vet's farm until they are placed; if one, or both, cannot be placed, the vet will keep the dog(s) for which a home cannot be found. (They get along very well with her Australian Cattle Dog.) The vet, of course, knows about the stipend for veterinary care; she does not, however, know about the other half. Both dogs are the sweetest, most lovable dogs one could ever hope for, and I doubt she would have trouble finding them homes if the children did not take them. (I am not worried about the cats, as I believe my younger son will probably take them.) But whereas she singlehandedly got the older dog through cancer, she has an emotional bond with the dog, and will do what is best for her. And as for Shadow (the BC), she adores her, and has already said that if we ever had to give her up for any reaon, she would take her as a playmate for Sassy (the ACD).

 

But your points are well-made, and appreciated.

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You're right, Eileen, I do. A 6'1" Midwesterner of Norwegian descent, she cuts an imposing (intimidating?) figure. She rides Harleys (she just traded in her Shovelhead Boy for a V-Rod), and also just added a Titan to her collection. We have known her for the better part of two decades; she started her own practice going to her clients' homes in an old, beat-up Chevy Suburban converted into a mobile veterinary care unit, and we were her first clients. (My primary care physician is also a woman; in my personal opinion, women make better doctors, because they have a natural empathy that many of us men lack.) She doesn't particularly like people, except those that take exceptional care of their pets; she claims we are her favorites. She is blunt to the point of being brutal if she thinks someone is not taking the proper care of a pet; she has been known to refuse prospective clients, and on more than one occasion has actually thrown people out of her office. She will fight for the life of any animal, to the point of fanaticism, and will use every ounce of her professional knowledge and background to find a cure, if one exists; so when she says it is time to euthanize, you can rest assured that there is no other alternative. When we have had to euthanize, she cries with us, to the point that she has to leave the room, and has the sensitivity to send us the bill several weeks later. Because we were one of her original clients (she has her own veterinary hospital now), she will still come to our home in an emergency; and if we need to talk to her for help, and call her on off-hours, she will return our calls any time of day or night on any day of the week. (How many vets do you know that would return your call at 3:00 on a Sunday morning?) If we need to leave our pets to go on a vacation, she refuses to allow us to put them in a kennel; instead, she takes them, and keeps them either at her office or at her farm, where she can personally keep an eye on them. She also runs an operation she calls Paws Aid, financed by tag sales featuring items contributed by her clients, sale of some merchandise with the hospital's logo, and a substantial portion of her own income as well as cash contributions from her clients; the money goes to help poorer families offset some of the cost of veterinary care for their pets, whether it be at her hospital or some other.

 

Yes, she is a very special vet; and we are indeed fortunate that we took a chance on an unknown entity 20 years ago.

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Originally posted by BustopherJones:

When we have had to euthanize, she cries with us, to the point that she has to leave the room, and has the sensitivity to send us the bill several weeks later .

Well, that got the tears flowing!

 

I remember walking into the vet with Mickey to have her put down. I drove 800 miles to take her to her old vet to be PTS. I paid cash before going in the back room to do what had to be done. I knew I would be too distraught to pay after it was done, so wanted to get it out of the way.

 

I can't tell you how horrible I felt. I looked at my old girl with a handful of bills and felt so rotten. I can't even describe how it made me feel. I wish they had billed me weeks later instead.

 

I miss my old girl. :rolleyes: :D :D

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When the time came for Brandy to leave me at 16 1/2 years of age, I was so fortunate to have the vet come to my house, with her assistant, so Brandy's last memories would be of me holding her on her favourite blanket sitting in the sunshine coming through the window. Because the ground was still frozen, and the vet knew I wanted to bury her in her favourite spot at my camp (aka cottage), she actually took Brandy's body to place in cold storage (while that may sound morbid...to me it was the greatest of kindnesses)

BTW, the vet was also 9 months pregnant when she did this for me. This vet knew what my Brandy meant to me...and for that I will always be grateful.

I worry about my dogs.....and I really need to think of what will be best for them....thanks for reminding me to get to that!

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true story here...I'll make it short as possible

hubby's Grandmother,..had fallen out with everyone

soooooo we had not had contact for about 3 yrs..one day I received a call.from a home care nurse,,said come right away..I did..the grandmother had promised the neighbor lady if she would take care of the dogs she could have EVERYTHING..well..the lady started removing items quickly(grandmother still living there)..when I arrived..alone ..the lady was tearing up telling me she loved the dogs..I politley said well..you will be compensated for the dogs..but Grandmother was not in her right mind

to give away everything..(nurse's words)the nice neighbor lady looked at me and said then shove the dogs up your ass!!!!..my father in law took both dogs..and kept them for 11 yrs,,til it was time for them to be put to sleep..1 dog 17 yrs old

other 16 1/2..

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