Planning Ahead: 5 considerations for your Advanced Pet Directive

Let me begin with this bold statement: Pets are family members. They depend on us and they deserve to be factored into our estate plans.

Here are FIVE key considerations that should be addressed when you draft your Advanced Pet Directive:

 

Who will provide primary care? Who will support that person, if needed?

Think of who would provide the best care for your pet and have a clear and direct conversation about your expectations and wishes. It’s important to remember that this is not a legally binding agreement, but rather a request. Be sure you’ve documented this wish in your paperwork and communicated in advance with other family members so there is no confusion.

 

In the absence of that person, who is your next choice?

Always gotta have a back-up plan.

 

What are the specific instructions to care for your pet?

You probably have a good draft of this already completed for the doggy-daycare or dog sitter, but if you don’t, you can use Google to find a checklist including things like: nicknames, favorite treats, hiding spots, specific fears. Ideally, the caretaker for your pet is someone who knows them already, but it’s a good idea to document even the most obvious details.

 

How have you planned for insurance coverage?

Do you currently carry insurance coverage on your pet? If yes, ensure that it will continue after your death by calling the insurance company and exploring specific options. If you do not carry insurance, identify the estimated maximum budget for medical bills and identify the source of funds.

 

What trust or will provisions exist to provide financial coverage?

Draft a monthly or annual budget covering all costs associated with care and boarding and create an estimated expense. Work with your estate planner to ensure that funds have been earmarked, should they be needed.

 

As I work with clients in the pre-planning space, we cover these important issues in great detail and I can assist in creating the appropriate documentation to provide advanced guidance. I’d love to help you, too.

Planning Ahead: 6 questions to ask before you die

You bought the life insurance policy, had the estate documents drafted, hired the right investment managers. You’ve talked with your family about your final wishes, probably more than they’d like to hear, and you trust them to make the right decisions on your behalf. You’ve looked at the big picture and you feel confident everyone is going to be taken care of.

Here are the SIX questions you need to consider to prepare your family for the immediate-term impact of your death, those critical days and weeks as they are regaining their balance without you:

 

Questions for your financial advisors

In the case of my/my spouse’s death...

  • Which accounts, specifically checking and credit, will be continuously available to my next of kin and which will need retitling?
  • When will insurance payouts be made available and what is the process for transferring those assets?  
  • How will ongoing income streams be impacted in the initial 30, 60 and 90 days?

 

Questions for your family

In the case of my/my spouse’s death…

  • What are the regular monthly, quarterly and annual payments or transfers? Are those originating accounts impacted by retitling or estate settlement issues in the immediate term?
  • What is the current process for payments or transfers and how might that change?
  • Who will be responsible for covering costs associated with funeral, burial, memorial services before the estate’s assets are made available? What type of guidance do they want or need for that responsibility?

 

Your trusted advisors are looking at a generational timeline - wealth goals are typically stated in terms of generations - but it’s these small windows of time that can have great impact on the solidarity of a family. Planning for the immediate impact in the initial 30, 60 and 90 days after your death allows you to provide an extra layer of financial and emotional support to both the members of your family and your family unit as a whole.

 

I am able to coordinate with you and your advisors to ensure that you’ve made the necessary logistical and financial arrangements to cover  this narrow but critical window of time.