Do You Have a Guardian for Your Pet?

The importance of carefully evaluating your pet’s caregiver or guardian upon your incapacity or death can’t be stated enough. Under law, if you had no estate plan documents to address this important issue, your estate would flow to your “heirs” as determined by California statute. Thus, your pet, which in California is “property” of your estate, would pass to your heirs.  Your heirs may reject your pet or (perhaps worse)  they may receive your pet— so honestly evaluate your pet’s successor guardian and select person’s that will be in your pet’s best interest.

Naming the Guardian for Your Pet

Naming a caregiver or guardian for your pet is similar to naming one for children. You need to assess your pet and their personality, habits, medical needs, social conditioning and their other facets. THEN, you must assess your choice of caregiver or guardian under the prism of your pet’s needs and facets. For example, if your pet is a GSP (what is that?) that needs to run and run, is naming your best friend who lives in an apartment  and works 24/7 the best choice? Or, if your dog has issues with small children, is naming your brother with 3 small children the right fit? Is naming your hyper-allergic sister the guardian of your long haired, rough-coated collie the best match (this one gives me pause, as I might finally get my revenge for her ratting me out 40 years ago when I opened the house for a high school teen party.)

Bottom-line: We owe it to our pets (and friends and family) to really consider the best match for them.

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