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As a nation of animal lovers we must make provision for our pets if we die....

October 19, 2015


Pets usually have shorter life spans than their human caregivers, so many people plan for their animals passing before them. However, all too often it is the human who becomes ill or incapacitated or dies first.


To ensure your beloved pet will continue to receive care should something unexpected happen to you, you must plan ahead. In the confusion that accompanies a person’s unexpected illness, accident, or death, pets may be overlooked.


There are some simple precautions you can take to stop this from happening:

  • Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to be temporary emergency caregivers in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your vet; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.

  • Make sure your neighbours, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.

  • You could carry a wallet “alert  card” that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers and details of your pets

  • Draw up a Will with your legal advisor to provide for the care and ownership of your pet as well as the money necessary to care for him or her. You should authorise your executor to spend funds from your estate for the temporary care of your pets as well as for the costs of looking for a new home and transporting the animals to it. Make sure your legal advisor has details of your pets and your emergency caregivers. Update these details with your legal advisor if they change

Ask your legal advisor about granting in your Will broad discretion to your executor in making decisions about your animals and spending estate funds on their behalf as necessary


Remember, most humane organisations do not have the space or funds to care for your pet indefinitely and cannot guarantee that someone will adopt your animal, although some may be able to board and care for your pet temporarily until he or she can be transferred to his or her designated caregiver. There are a few organisations that specialise in the long term care of pets of deceased owners normally for a fee or donation, and you should carry out research as regards these if you wish to opt for this service. Remember to tell your legal advisor the details if you do.



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