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An estate for the cats?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
You may have heard of people who have left their home to their cats upon their death, along with hiring a part or full-time companion for their cats. I'm not that wealthy! Neither am I penniless, and if there was some way to encourage someone to take an older cat by providing for a certain amount of vet bills or something, I might be able to put that in my will. But just today I received an email from my sister who said that someone she knew had died of cancer at age 46, and the family was having her two dogs and four of her five cats euthanized. I certainly wouldn't want that to happen should I happen to check out of this world before my two furbabies do.

Here is my problem. My cats are already about eight years old, and most people want kittens. Though my cats are extremely loving, wanting to sit on my lap or be petted for an hour at a time, they are terrified of strangers. They growl at my next-door neighbor when he is in his yard - and he has lived there for three years and loves cats! I'm pretty much a loner and rarely have anyone over, so strangers to them are those horrible roofers or other construction workers who make terrible noises. They run and hide if they even hear a car driving in the driveway and never come out when anyone is here. So needless to say, they would never make a good impression on someone if shown at some shelter's public showing. They would hunker in a corner. My only relative who lives closer than 400 miles is my step-daughter, who is allergic to cats and wouldn't have one. My other relatives wouldn't be interested.

I'm only 62 and in reasonably good health, so in all probability I'll outlive these two. But just in case, I'd like to have some kind of plan developed and in writing to provide direction to my survivors should I check out sooner than anticipated. What suggestions do you have to help me formulate a plan for my furbabies?
post #2 of 7
Here is a website, you have to have acrobat reader to view it, but it will give you some guidelines and perhaps you can draw the papers up yourself and ask at the vet office or animal shelter about a proper guardian?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Hissy. Looks like some good information there, but there is a lot of fine print in that. I'm going to have to get out my other glasses. Do you know anything much about that PetGuardian organization?

In following up on that, I discovered another website that others who might also be interested in this idea might want to explore.

post #4 of 7
You should take note of the relevant law in your state. Cannot remember the figures but I believe that only about 16+ states have passed laws allowing a creation of a trust for pets. The rest still do not recognise it. The reason is that a cat or a pet is treated as a property in law. So leaving one's possession to a cat is somewhat like a person leaving their possession to an oven.

There are also several problems with such arrangements. If the company is treating the animal badly then there is little a person can do about it. After all a cat cannot petition go into a court and meow at the judge to complain about the bad treatment. So make sure the firm is reputable.
post #5 of 7
"To my Television, I bequeath mine husband and mine cat.To my can of tuna, I bequeath mine other cat."

I almost bequeathed my cats to the oven, but decided that would have been frowned upon *lol*
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes, I'll check into the law in the state. As a matter of fact, I will probably go to the attorney I used for something else years ago. His wife was very active in forming our local PAWS, so I expect he will be more supportive and knowledgeable of pet provisions than most area attorneys. But I like to have a good idea of what to think about and what to ask first.

Here is another good website I found on the subject. "Estate Planning for Non-Human Family Members." http://www.professorbeyer.com/Articles/Animals Reminder to anyone reading it: not everything there may apply to the law in your state, so check.

The way I look at the whole estate planning thing is this: my stepson doesn't need it and my stepdaughter would just blow it, so might as well make sure my furbabies get properly taken care of first (and some to charity) before leaving the rest for the human family members.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Aha, I just found this: State Trust Pet Statutes. And the statute for my state, Washington, says "A trust for the care of one or more animals is valid." Here is a link so you can look up what provisions are in your state:

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