A pet protection agreement is a document that allows you to decide ahead of time who will take care of your pets and exactly how they will be cared for. In Nevada, it can be a contract between you and a caretaker, a stand-alone pet trust or a provision in your own revocable living trust. The Agreement allows you to name a caretaker and specify all of the terms of your pet's care you desire. Pet protection agreements can become effective upon your death, or in the event of your incapacity. There are many options as to the terms that can be included in a pet protection agreement form. The choice is yours.
Choosing a Caretaker
In addition to identifying yourself and your pets, you must choose someone to serve as the caretaker for your pet. That person will be ultimately responsible for the care and well-being of your pets, if you become unable to provide that care yourself. By signing the pet protection agreement, the caretaker becomes legally bound by its terms and makes the document legally enforceable. It is wise to also include the identity of a successor or alternative pet caretaker, in case your first choice is unable to take on the responsibility for any reason. You can decide to choose either an individual or an organization to serve as caretaker.
Identifying an organization of last resort
In the unlikely situation that neither the pet caretaker nor the successor caretaker is willing or able to care for your pet, the only other option would be to deliver the pet to a shelter. In that case, you can still identify in your pet protection agreement, or trust which organization that should be. You can also specify whether you want the shelter to find a temporary or permanent home for your pet, or simply choose what is in the pet’s best interest.
Leaving funds for the financial support of your pet
It is recommended, for the benefit of the caretaker and your pet, that you provide a source of financial support or your pet’s care. This is optional, of course. If you do choose to leave funds or property to support your pet, you should consider the number of pets you have, their ages and life expectancy, healthcare and medication needs, lifestyle and socialization, daily routines, food and diet and your pets’ preferences. The financial elements that should be planned for include the funds needed for your pet’s overall care, compensation for the caretaker, and how the funds will actually be provided for. Finally, it is a good idea to identify beneficiaries to receive any remaining funds left after the pet passes away.
Choosing a Distribution Representative
Some pet owners choose to identify someone other than the pet caretaker to be responsible for the funds. This person is typically referred to as the “distribution representative” in a contract, or the trustee, in a trust. This person holds on to the funds and then disburses them to the caretaker as needed. Otherwise, the pet caretaker can act in both offices and be responsible for handling both the pet and the funds.
Medical treatment and end of life care
Providing information relating to your pet’s medical conditions and required medications is just as important as including community of care information. Contact information for the animal hospital or veterinarian’s office you typically use is a good idea. Your wishes regarding your pet’s end of life care should also be addressed. State whether you want your pet to be euthanized, according to local laws, and your choices regarding final disposition.
If you have questions regarding pet protection agreements, trusts, or any other pet planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.