Why You Should Protect Your Pets With A Will

dog with glasses
Prepared by Willful for Toronto Dog Moms Blog
As pet owners, most of us think of our furry companions as our family members. The same way we like to ensure our children and loved-ones are protected in the event of an emergency, we should do the same for our pets. You may be surprised to hear that one of the best ways to do this is making a will!
Only 6% of Canadian pet owners have included their pet in their will by outlining a pet guardian and 44% have never even thought about making a plan for their pet in case they pass away
What is a will?
Your last will and testament (often simply referred to as a will) is a legal document that outlines how you wish to distribute your assets such as property and money, and care of dependents after you die. Your dependents can include children and yes, even pets!
How does a will protect my pet?
It’s the best way to ensure there is a plan for care of your pets. While 24% of Canadian pet owners have some sort of informal plan in place for their pet, putting it in a will makes your wishes legally binding. 
Many pet owners assume that a family member or friend will of course set up to care for their pet if they pass away. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and is one of the top reasons that pets end up in shelters. 
Is it difficult to include my pet in my will?
Not at all! Just like any other end-of-life wishes you may have, including your pet in your will is easy. Many online estate planning platforms, like Willful, have built in software for pet owners so you can ensure you haven’t missed anything. The best part? You can make your will in less than 20 minutes from the comfort of your own home! 
Choosing a pet guardian
When picking someone to be your pets guardian, make sure to choose someone you trust and are confident will take good care of your pet. You’ll want to speak with them to make sure they’re willing and able to take on the role. You may also want to consider a backup guardian, just in case circumstances have changed at the time of your passing.
It’s important to note that while we love our furry companions like children, in the eyes of the law they are considered property. 
Making a plan for care
Once you’ve decided on a guardian, you’ll want to chat about the type of care you’d want your pet to receive, daily routines, and any other relevant information that they’d need to know.
In addition, you should consider leaving money in your will for your pet guardian to cover the cost of caring for your pet. This is especially important if:
  • Your pet has health problems
  • Their breed is prone to health complications 
Updating your will
Your will is not a one and done type of document. Your life is constantly changing and it’s important to keep your will up to date. When it comes to pets, there are a couple situations where you should consider updating your will, including:
  • Addition of a new pet
  • Passing of a pet
  • Choosing a new guardian

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