Losing a Furry Family Member Stinks, But So Does Dying Without Leaving a Plan for Their Continued Care

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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We lost our little Stitch this week in the Marks household.


A Yorkie Poo, Stitch has been in our family for thirteen years since she was a puppy. She had been going downhill over the last month, and particularly the last week.


I am so thankful that Jill was home from college and my mom was visiting from Virginia over Thanksgiving so that, although they didn’t know it at the time, they could say good-bye.


Unfortunately, as many of you know firsthand, we don’t always have that luxury when we lose a loved one, human or furry.


On the flip side, it is also heartbreaking to think you may outlive your pet, especially if you live alone.


And yes, you can (and should in many cases) specifically plan for your pets with your Estate Planning.


Who do you want caring for your pets when you can no longer do so? Will you be providing any money for the continued care of your pets?


Alas, you CANNOT leave your estate to your pet, even if they are the most worthy recipient of your heard earned money.


However, you CAN instead establish a Pet Trust for to provide for their continued care after you die. This is what Leona Helmsley did for her beloved Maltese when she died. Funded with $2 million (it was supposed to be $12 million but a judge reduced the amount), Trouble lived out the rest of her days in the lap of luxury (no pun intended).


Although not a regular occurrence, I have created Pet Trusts for my clients. You just need to ensure that it will be cost effective for you to do so which depends upon the size of your estate and how much money you want to leave for the care of your pets.


Another important piece of your planning puzzle that most people overlook is failing to provide a written roadmap or blueprint for their surviving loved ones. This written blueprint should include detailed instructions about the continued care of your pets.


I am unveiling a new monthly service soon that will organize your succession roadmap for you. Details coming soon.


The loss of “Stitchypoo” has left a hole in our family’s hearts but I wouldn’t trade the last 13 years with her for anything.


Kristen “Missing My Sleeping Buddy” Marks


P.S. I’ve posted the past few Facebook Live broadcasts on our website. You can watch them here.

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