Photo by AKC
As the world learned of the death of Queen Elizabeth II many people wondered what would happen to her beloved corgis. The connection between the queen and these adorable, potato shaped dogs began when she was seven and her father gave one to the family. Her ownership and breeding of corgis began with the gift of a corgi named Susan from her father when she was 18. From that time forward the queen kept corgis. The queen was also known as an expert horsewoman who was very involved in breeding winning race horses. It is not surprising that there was such interest in the queen’s dogs and horses. After all, 40% of Americans and 30% of Britons own dogs. When you consider the number of people who own pets of any kind that percentage soars.
Should you plan for your pets?
As we age this becomes a concern for all of us. After all, small dogs and cats can live into their teens. Other pets such as birds can live much longer, and horses can live 25-30 years. Even younger people can have sudden life-changing events that affect their ability to care for their pets. We all want to be sure that our beloved pets are cared for after we pass away or become unable to provide daily care for any reason. It’s the least they deserve after all the joy and companionship they have given us.
Sadly, in estate planning, pets are often an afterthought. Many families have been left with the dilemma of how to give a good life to a deceased parent’s pets. Even with the best of intentions they perhaps have pets of their own, not to mention other family and work obligations. At Stratton and Reynolds, we are all pet people so we are eager help you with planning regarding your pets as part of a comprehensive estate plan.
We can help
The first step is to consider the pets you have now and how long they might live. Next, talk to family members or friends whom you trust and who might be willing to care for them in the event you pass away or become incapacitated. Finally, put serious thought into the financial burden that your family member or friend might be taking on. The cost of owning a dog can range from $326 to $1982 per year for an adult dog according to Canine Journal. Horses can cost much more, though one figure we found said to budget an average of $3876 per year. If the horse must be boarded at a stable, the cost goes up dramatically. Also, as a pet ages, or if the pet already has health problems that cost also goes up.
It is important to consider leaving your loved one means to provide the best possible care to your pet. A will can specify who will take your pet and can give that person a lump sum to cover expenses. Another way to do this is with a Pet Trust. These trusts can specify who will take the pet(s), outline your wishes for that pet’s care, name a person to enforce the trust if necessary, and other details. This trust that can be set up to cover expenses that your loved one incurs in caring for your dog, cat, horse, parrot, or even friendly python.
Are there other ways to help animals?
There are a number of ways to help animals in a broader way. Charitable trusts can be set up to benefit organizations who help animals. Rescue groups, zoos, and equine therapy groups, just to name a few, are all in need of funds to help animals. We can help you consider the best ways to leave a legacy to these groups and help a larger number of animals.
So what will happen to Queen Elizabeth’s corgis and thoroughbred horses?
It appears the queen had a plan in place for her pets. The queen’s dogs will be cared for by Prince Andrew and her horses by Princess Anne, who is an accomplished equestrian herself, even representing Great Britain in the 1976 Olympics. So, we can all rest easy knowing that these sweet dogs and beautiful horses will continue to live in style.
If you have pets, or need other estate planning advice, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling or completing the contact form. At Stratton and Reynolds, we pride ourselves on listening to the unique concerns of our clients and crafting an estate plan that gives them peace of mind.