Some seniors may feel silly or embarrassed about certain parts of their retirement or estate planning, but at Utah Senior Planning, we’re here to keep you feeling comfortable and at ease. We know everyone has different unique needs and desires for these planning processes, and there’s no item too silly or inconsequential for us to help you with.

One such area that’s a concern for some seniors within senior planning is pets. Some pet owners fear their companions will outlive them, and want to ensure that the animal will receive the proper care if this happens. This requires making an advanced care directive for the pet, which we can easily help you with during your planning periods. Let’s go over some of the basic steps that go into creating an advanced care directive for a pet.

Preliminary Discussion

For starters, a conversation should be had between you as a senior, your caregivers, and any of our staff involved in the advanced care directive being created. It’s important to lay out your basic wishes and plans for the pet if you do happen to pass before the animal does.

Important areas here include money and care. The party caring for a dog or cat will incur several hundred dollars a year or more in basic food and health costs, and far more if the animal has any significant illnesses or injuries. Will the person designated to adopting the pet be able to cover these costs, or should money be set aside as part of the advanced directive?

In addition, consider the care the animal will receive. This process allows you to line up a couple trusted volunteers to help in case of emergency, or to set up an arrangement with a pet-sitting company.

Building a Plan

As you get into some specifics, there are several elements of the plan to keep in mind:

  • How much money will be set aside for pet care

  • Where this money will come from (investments, savings, insurance, real estate proceeds, etc.)

  • What will happen if pets get sick or die

  • Where remaining funds for pet care will go after they pass

  • Specific care areas you want prioritized for your pet

  • Who you trust to care for your pets, and who will take over if that trusted party is no longer able

  • Who you trust to make financial decisions for your pets, and who will take over if they need to be replaced

Putting it in Writing

Depending on the level of detail in your advanced care directive, it may take between a week and a few months to complete this process. Our attorneys can help you lay out the proper terms and conditions of your directive, ensuring all your wishes are carefully considered and presented in clear language.

For more on laying out an advanced care directive for a pet, or to learn about any of our senior planning services, speak to the staff at Utah Senior Planning today.