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Do I need a will for my dog?

Good Advice Law -Pet of Nathan Begley

I have two beautiful dogs, Smokie and Nibbler, Both are rescues but only the first one was on purpose. My wife and I adopted Smokie when she was 7 months old, an underfed pit-mix, black with four white socks and a white chest, with no hair around her neck from where she'd been found tied up during a police raid. Smokie recovered wonderfully and when she was two years old, we took her to a pet store to get her a treat. As it turned out, that pet store was having an "adoption event" and there was a litter of 8-week-old boxer-lab mixes. We took Smokie over to see the puppies and one of them, who happened to match Smokie's dark fur and four white socks, instantly locked on to her and pushed through her siblings to get to Smokie. For her part, Smokie was absolutely enthralled, you could see in her face that she thought her little mini-me was adorable as she got down on her belly and placed her paw on the puppy's head. Smokie looked up at us and asked in her way if we could take the puppy with us. So that's how I ended up with two dogs.

Good Advice Law-Nathan Begley's pets-Photo by Laura Brigger
Smokie and Nibbler

They are tightly bonded and share a bed and will even share a food or water bowl with no hesitation or dispute. Now that I have them, I couldn't imagine my life without them. However, to do my job as an owner, I need to stop and imagine their life without me. If something were to happen to my wife and me, who would take care of our dogs? What if they split them up? I didn't rescue them then just to abandon them later.

Fortunately, a good estate plan can protect your pets, direct who is to take custody of them, and provide funds for their food and ongoing medical expenses. If you have an animal (be it a dog, cat, bird, horse, or otherwise) who depends on you for its existence, please make sure you have a plan in place for how to ensure they are provided for should something happen to you. A will or trust can give as much or as little direction as is needed for your unique circumstances and help prevent your pets from being abandoned, taken to a shelter, or put down.

Good Advice Law-Nathan Begley's pets photo by. Laura Brigger
Smokie and Nibbler

Consult with an Estate Planning attorney today to determine whether your current estate plan will take care of your animals the way you intend, with love and consideration, keeping bonded pairs together, and not treating them like mere property to be distributed.


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