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How to keep Fluffy from the pound if you go into a nursing home

During your later years, your pets have been a great source of love and comfort. The last thing you would want for your beloved dog or cat is to have to surrender it to an animal shelter if you are unexpectedly unable to care for it.

For many senior residents in New York, this is a valid fear. You may still enjoy good health for years to come, but it is not possible to predict if or when a disabling illness or injury will occur that may require you to enter nursing care.

If you need to move from your home to a care facility, what happens to your pets? Sadly, many owners abandon their pets or must surrender them when the owners pass away or are unable to care for them anymore.

There is a way you can prevent this from happening to your pets. You may designate ownership of your pets to someone in your will, but a pet trust may be a better option. 

Why a pet trust?

Pet trusts allow you to detail the type of care you want for your pets, in addition to letting you fund the trust for their expenses. According to the New York State Bar Association, a pet trust stays in effect for the life of your pet.

What should you specify in your pet trust? You can include just about anything that you feel is important for the care and happiness of your beloved animals.

You may want to start with designating a first, second and possibly a third choice as a caregiver for your pets upon your death or in the event of your incapacitation. Ideally, this should be someone your pets are already familiar with, and of course, a person who likes your pets and is willing to give them the type of care you want.

In the pet trust, you can add such details as feeding schedules, preferred brand of food, play or exercise schedules, grooming appointments, and the kinds of toys your pets like.

You will also want to specify veterinary information and any medications your pets take. You may also include instructions on visitation with your pets if you are living in a nursing home.

The idea of being separated from your beloved pets may be difficult to think about, but you can gain peace of mind after you plan for a day when you are unable to take care of them.

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