This estate planning form allows you to leave detailed information about your pets so your pet guardian can properly care for them if you become incapacitated or pass away. Instructions on how to complete this estate planning form are included.
Completing our Pet Guardian Form is not a substitute for making an estate plan. You still need to execute a valid will, power of attorney, health care directives, and possibly an estate planning trust, depending on your objectives. The Pet Guardian Form is an additional document you would leave for your designated pet guardian in addition to executing estate planning documents.
For information on how to make an estate plan that will ensure your pets are taken care of in your absence, refer to our free
Pet Owners Estate Planning Guide.
Free Estate Planning Forms
As part of making sure everything is in order to ensure your pets and other animals receive food, water, shelter, and veterinary care if something happens to you, it is a good idea to write a
Letter of Instruction for your executor or the person that will be responsible for settling your estate. For example, a letter of instruction may be used to let your executor know where to find keys, passwords or important financial information they will need to arrange for pet care.In addition to a Letter of Instruction, there are other estate planning forms you may want to complete after your basic estate planning documents are in place. To view more estate planning forms from Pennyborn.com, go to free estate plan forms.
Include Instructions for Pet Guardian in Estate Plan
Instructions for Pet Guardian Form
The form provides space for information on up to four pets. Print additional copies of the form if you have more than four pets.
If you are unsure how to make a decision on the medical decisions or last wishes sections of the form, consult your estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help ensure your letter to pet guardian is consistent with your pet trust and other estate planning documents that contain provisions for the care of your pets.
Pages 4 and 5 of the form provide space for you to attach a photo of each pet. It is important to attach a photo of each pet to the form. If the people named as your pet guardian, executor or trustee have not spent a lot of time with your pets, they may not remember what your pets look like. Pets often end up in animal shelters after the sudden death or disability of an owner. See unwanted pets. When the people responsible for administering your estate review your estate planning documents, they may need photos of your pets to identify them at a shelter. It is also a good idea to attach photos of your pets so no one can claim other animals are your pets in an attempt to mislead your pet guardian or executor with respect to funds set aside for your pets in your will or trust.
Review your letter to pet guardian form at least once a year. Make updates to the form or complete a new form if necessary to keep the information about your pets current.
Store your letter to pet guardian form in a place that is readily accessible to your pet guardian, executor or trustee. A person who assumes responsibility for your pets will need information about their health and behavior issues almost immediately. Discuss with your pet guardian, executor or trustee where these instructions for the care of your pets can be located so the information is available in an emergency.
Note: Completing a letter to pet guardian form is not a substitute for executing a will, living trust, pet trust or other legally enforceable document that designates someone to care for your pet and sets aside funds to pay for such care. The letter to pet guardian form provides information to your pet guardian but is not legally binding.