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October 17, 2021

Who'll look after your pets when you're no longer there?

Have you thought about the future when it comes to your pets?

The bond between people and their pets runs deep, so it's only natural that pet owners should be concerned about what will happen to their charges should they die or can no longer care for them.

Hopefully, a relative or close family friend will jump right in, particularly if you've already broached the subject with them.

But, emotions aside, be careful who you chose for the task, warns Doug Carroll, vice-president, tax and estate planning at Invesco Trimark.

For instance:

  • Does the person have the disposition to be a pet owner?
  • Would their schedule allow for adequate care?
  • What about travel and vacations?
  • Are they physically up to the task?
  • Are there any safety issues, particularly with regards to young children?
  • What about allergy issues?

And then there's the hundreds of dollars in annual care, of course.

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Multiply this by the number of years the pet has left in his or her life and you’re talking about a heavy financial burden for even the most loyal friend, Carroll points out.

In Canada, a pet can't be named as a beneficiary in a person’s will or under a life insurance policy, so you can’t give the money to the pet directly. But you can set aside funds for the intended caregiver in your  will, or, although more expensive, even set up a trust for your pet's care.

In some cases, people chose to back certain animal-oriented charities with the clear understanding that looking after those they leave behind is part of the deal.

Have you been asked to step in and look after pets following someone's death? What arrangements have you made to look after your own pets once you can't?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money





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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...