Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why the Heck Do I Need A Pet Trust?

by Casey on October 6, 2010

Sipping on a cold glass of wine at a bridal shower I was chatting with a lady who cares for two Springer Spaniels.  Bluntly, she looked at me and said, “So, why the heck do I need a pet trust?”

In my mind the answer is simple.  “It’s the right thing to do!” Why?  It means a secure future for your beloved furry friend.

You can’t ignore the “what if’s” in life.  For instance, what if you don’t outlive your pet? Suddenly, a host of questions arise.

Who Will Take Care of Your Pet?

People with human children choose godparents and set up life insurance policies to plan for their passing.  Why shouldn’t pet parents make similar plans?  If you’re like me, the thought of your dog, cat, hamster, or turtle ending up in the pound makes your stomach turn.  I can’t imagine my English Bulldog, Patch, wondering why I never came home one day, and ending up in a shelter the next! How traumatic for a creature that has given me so much love.

Knowing Patch and his charismatic personality, he would probably end up with a family member.  But who?

You can’t assume that Aunt Mildred will take your youthful Golden Retriever whose endless energy seems to come from a bottled source.  Chances are, Aunt Mildred is not at home baking and tending her garden.  Instead, she’s running an international company and regularly flying the red-eye to Paris.  A dog (or any other pet) would not suit her lifestyle.

A pet trust prompts you to select your pet’s future caregiver after careful consideration of their personality, lifestyle, and willingness to accept the responsibility.

Who Will Pay For Your Pet’s Annual Expenses?

Even if you were sure that a family member or friend would take your pet, would it be fair for them to pick up the bill when it came time for

  • vet visits,
  • grooming,
  • medications,
  • doggie daycare,
  • toys,
  • etc., etc., etc.?

A pet trust enables you to provide funds for your furry friend’s annual expenses.

How Will Your Pet Be Treated?

Even if a family member or friend committed to your pet’s care,  would they know your animal’s likes, dislikes, and how to care for them the way you would?  Most likely not.  A pet trust directs your caregiver to spend the trust funds according to a specific set of care instructions.  Maybe your Golden needs doggie daycare to tire him out or your fat cat can only eat prescription low-fat food.  Your pet trust enables you to get as specific as you like when it comes to your pet’s proper care.

In sum, a pet trust allows you to choose your animal’s caregiver, provide that person with the funds for their annual expenses, and leave a set of care instructions.  That way, there’s no question where they will end up if something happens to you.

Patch is no million dollar heir, but with a pet trust, he is protected and so is his caregiver.

So, why the heck do you need a pet trust?  It’s the right thing to do! 

Need help? Call the Cassinis Pet Trust Firm for a free initial consultation.

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Why You Should Include Pet Insurance Information In Your Pet Trust

Pet insurance: should you buy it or bet the farm that you won’t need it?  Americans spent $13.01 billion on vet care in 2010! See www.americanpetproducts.org. Ever thought about your vet bills?

A quick Google search for “pet health insurance” resulted in 15,600,000 hits!  Wow!  Obviously, pet insurance is picking up steam.

Just like human health insurance, there aren’t any guarantees that you’ll need it.  I am not advocating a position either way, but I am encouraging you to do your homework and make an informed decision.  If you decide to take the gamble on pet insurance, allocate sufficient funds in your pet trust and include information about it for your pet’s designated caregiver.  Why?

1.       Your Pet’s Caregiver Needs to Know You Have Pet Insurance

This may sound obvious, but pet insurance won’t do your pet’s caregiver any good if they don’t know about it.  Most health insurance companies require pet parents to submit claim forms after paying for vet care upfront.  If no claims are submitted, there’s no payout.

2.       Your Pet’s Caregiver Won’t Know Which Plan is Best For Your Pet

Want ongoing, customized coverage?  Make it easy for the caregiver in your pet trust, and do the research for them.  After all, you want your pet trust funds to go as far as possible, right?

Companies such as ASPCA Health Insurance, Veterinary Pet Insurance, TruPanion, Pets Best and 24PetWatch provide a variety of insurance options with premiums ranging from about $20-$50 per month.

  • “Accident plans” only provide coverage if your pet is injured in an accident.
  • “Wellness plans” only provide coverage for ongoing preventative care.
  • “Discount plans” provide discounted veterinary services when you visit certain providers.
  • “Senior plans” come into play for older pets who may have exhausted a typical plan’s age or lifetime coverage limitations.

Whatever plan (or combination of plans) you pick, make sure you understand the exclusions!  Common exclusions include: cosmetic care, pre-existing conditions, hereditary disorders, AND ongoing illnesses.  The last category caught my eye.  Ongoing illnesses are those that have been treated in one plan period that would not be covered in the next plan period absent additional fees.

Oh yea….another exclusion to consider….coverage for ACL correction during the first year of the plan!  ACL surgery is common in dogs, and for those of you who don’t know, an ACL surgery can cost about $3,000.00!

Other considerations: breed surcharges, payment plan expenses, per incident deductibles, and lifetime caps.  See how many things your pet’s caregiver would have to decide if you leave them with inadequate instructions?

3.       A Gap in Coverage Could Be Problematic

If your pet’s caregiver didn’t realize your pet was insured until their plan expired, renewing the plan could be problematic.  What if your pet develops an illness during the gap in coverage?  If their policy is renewed, the illness could be considered an excluded pre-existing condition.

4.       If Your Plan Expires, A Hefty Vet Bill Could Exhaust Trust Funds

Let’s assume you dutifully pay pet insurance premiums expecting to benefit in the event of a catastrophic illness or surgery.  Unfortunately, your pet outlives you, and you failed to include instructions about their pet insurance in your pet trust.   Worse, you didn’t allocate funds for extremely large, unforeseen vet bills in the trust because you assumed pet insurance would kick in.  The result: your pet insurance plan expires, and your caregiver has to exhaust the trust’s funds on an unforeseen illness or surgery.  See the problem?

Shocking vet bills are just one of the reasons you need a pet trust.  Don’t heap that burden on friends or family.  If you buy pet insurance, include the necessary funds for premiums and deductibles in your pet trust funding formula.  If you don’t, include sufficient financial padding for unforeseen illnesses or surgeries so friends or family members won’t have to bet the farm on your pet’s health.

Call The Cassinis Pet Trust Firm today at 303-410-7708 or email ccassinis@pettrustfirm.com and we’ll help you create an affordable, comprehensive pet trust that contemplates all of your pet’s needs.

Photo Credit: Images_of_Money

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3 Steps to “Chew”sing the Right Dental Care

August 10, 2011
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Critter Care Post #3 When I was a kid, my grandmother washed my mouth out with soap.  Horrified, I actually watched her unwrap a new bar of Jergens® as we stood by the sink.   I wish I could say she was curing bad breath.  Sheepishly, I’ll admit that her intentions were directed toward my word [...]

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For Lawyers: Why Microspecialize?

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Recently, I gave an Ignite Presentation for a Denver Bar Association mixer. Because I love what I do, and I think others should too, the topic was microspecialization. Obviously, I used microspecialization in the field of pet trusts as a platform. Despite a minor technical difficulty at the beginning, I was able to meet the [...]

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The Needle or Not?

June 16, 2011
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Critter Care Post #2 Whether or not it was love at first sight, your furry friend eventually “wormed their way into your heart,” right?   Have you ever thought about what could be literally worming its way into their heart?  It’s not a cuddly thought, but it is a serious issue. Heartworms can be very dangerous, [...]

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New! Critter Care Posts

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Enjoy our new “Critter Care” posts designed to educate pet parents on the most controversial pet care issues. The goal: to provide both sides of the argument so you can make informed decisions about your pet’s diet and health care needs. How does this tie into a pet trust? Make the tough decisions now, and include [...]

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Critter Care Post #1 “You are what you eat.” Most of us try to forget this phrase while washing down the fries with a Coke. It’s a reminder that health depends largely on what we eat. In today’s society, we are very conscious of the nutritional information slapped on the side of packaged human goods. [...]

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Dollars and Scents: The Importance of a Pet Trust

April 18, 2011
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According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $47.74 billion on their pets in 2010! Whether you realize it or not, expenses related to your furry friend add up quickly. Patch and his cousins love sniffing around together. It’s a constant contest to see who can mark the most territory in the shortest period [...]

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Check Out the Interview!

March 7, 2011
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I had almost packed up for the weekend and headed home with Patch when I noticed a missed call at the office.  The voicemail said that the Boulder Daily Camera wanted to do a story on pet trusts and the Cassinis Pet Trust Firm!  Hurray! Press on the benefit of pet trusts!  I returned the reporter’s [...]

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Recently, a friend emailed an article about pending pet trust legislation in Massachusetts.  Anxious to learn whether Bill H1567 (“An Act Relative to Trusts for the Care of Animals”) had been signed, I picked up the phone and called the Governor’s office.   The voice on the other end confirmed that Governor Patrick signed H1467 on [...]

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Meeting Your New Year’s Resolutions: How to Get Your Pet Trust Underway

January 4, 2011

After the champagne toast you realize that 2011 came whether you were ready or not.  Suddenly, you feel the weight of your New Year’s resolutions.  If setting up a pet trust is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy and affordable the process is.  After all, this is [...]

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