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Pets, elderly

Why It Is A Good Idea For Seniors To Have Pets

Seniors And Pets

Are you wondering how you are going to care for your pet as you age in place? Are you wondering if you should adopt a pet as you age in place? This guide will help you decide on the best choice for you. Studies have shown that owning a pet can be physically and mentally beneficial for people of all ages. In the case of senior citizens, “just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke”.

Pet Adoption for Seniors

Senior dogs and cats are better for the elderly because they are more calm, quiet, and less maintenance

If you are mostly immobile, a cat may be the best option because you don’t have to walk them. A small dog that uses pee pads or a caged animal may also be a good option. Senior dogs and cats are better for the elderly because they are more calm, quiet, and less maintenance. Be sure to have the pet checked out by a veterinarian. A pre-existing illness or disease could drain your bank account or make you sick. For those seniors who want a dog, there are many reasons to be wary of jumping into pet adoption too quickly. The lack of mobility and inability to drive to and from the vet, groomer, or pet store worries them. The initial costs are usually high. They also worry that if and when there comes a point when they can no longer care for the dog, that the dog might be taken to a shelter and eventually euthanized. Many seniors feel like their worsening health condition is a burden, and a pet might possibly add to that.

There are numerous reasons for adopting a pet. From companionship to security, pets can provide seniors a better quality of live and improve aging in place. Finding the right pet for you or your family member is easy, and the benefits can be far-reaching.

Finding the right pet for you or your family member is easy, and the benefits can be far-reaching.

pets infographic

Matching Older Dogs with the Elderly

Pets for Seniors in Illinois created an adoption program that matches senior dogs and senior cats with senior citizens. They worked out solutions to the issues that seniors have with pet adoption, and the program is very successful. The program pays for most of the adoption fee, chooses calm and housebroken older dogs, and provides support every step of the way. If the animal is not a good fit, the organization will take back the pet and refund any fees. Other humane shelters around the nation are trying to replicate this model.

Pet Therapy for Seniors

Ask your doctor, physical therapist, or social worker about any pet therapy programs in your community.

Those who work caring for the elderly say that pets pull withdrawn seniors out of their shell, provide mild activity and cardio through walking and grooming the pet, and offer a way to feel needed and connect with the world. Pet therapy can also help with Alzheimer’s Sundowners Syndrome. Nighttime can be very confusing and disorienting for folks with Alzheimer’s disease. This is when some Alzheimer’s patients try to run away or leave their home. A pet can prevent this issue by keeping those with Alzheimer’s connected and occupied.

“Animals’ non-verbal communication and profound acceptance can be soothing for those with difficulty using language; some may even connect with memories of their own treasured pets,” (Byrne, 2015). Pet therapy has shown to improve appetite, social interaction, brain stimulation, and tactile activity. The unconditional love of a dog brings healing and meaning to a sometimes lonely stage in life. Ask your doctor, physical therapist, or social worker about any pet therapy programs in your community. Just because you give away a pet or choose not to take one into your home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t visit with other family pets or receive pet therapy. There are pet therapy home visit services all over the country. Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International are volunteer-run organizations with outposts all over the world. A local volunteer will come to your home and bring a trained service dog that is very well-behaved. The dog can play, cuddle, and perform commands during a half hour or one hour session.

Service Dogs for Seniors

Service dogs are trained to perform life-saving tasks, like retrieving medication, calling 911, opening the door for EMT and first responders, running to get help or barking for help after identifying an emergency, and laying down on their handler’s chest to help them cough or breath better.

For seniors with disabilities, a service dog might be the best option. “The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2011 defines service dogs as those trained to do work directly related to a person’s disability. Emotional support animals and dogs used as crime deterrents are excluded from this definition. A service dog is expected to accompany a person with a disability at all times”. Service dogs go through extensive training to remain calm and help their owner with mobility issues.

Service dog skills include: opening doors with a strap, pushing doors closed, helping their handler dress and undress, helping those in wheelchairs sit up straight & place feet and arms on footrests and armrests, preventing falls, and retrieving wheelchairs and walkers. It’s amazing the tasks these dogs can do! In an emergency situation, service dogs are trained to perform life-saving tasks, like retrieving medication, calling 911, opening the door for EMT and first responders, running to get help or barking for help after identifying an emergency, and laying down on their handler’s chest to help them cough or breath better.

For hearing impaired owners, service dogs are trained in alerting their handlers to the presence of other people or particular sounds, retrieving dropped objects, carrying messages, and warning that an unseen vehicle is approaching. For visually impaired owners, service dogs are trained in avoiding obstacles like moving vehicles, signaling change in elevation, locating objects on command, and retrieving dropped objects. Find the right service dog for you. Pets often increase the amount of exercise pet owners get versus non-pet owners. More exercise isn’t always a good thing for older people with injuries and susceptibility to falls. There are also some nonprofits in existence that will help elderly folks care for their pets when walking their dog multiple times a day or cleaning out the litter box is too burdensome. Look to see if there is one in your area.

The Cost of Pet Ownership

Elderly people give up their pets for several different reasons. In some cases, it may be necessary to make the heartbreaking decision to give up a pet.

It is important to make sure you have the funds to adopt a pet. Puppies have been known to cost upwards of $800 in their first year for healthcare, food, toys, and everything else that goes into pet care. Are you able to spend over $500 a year on your dog or cat? If not, a bird or fish might be a better option. In some cases, it may be necessary to make the heartbreaking decision to give up a pet. Elderly people give up their pets for several different reasons. They might not be physically able to care for them anymore, they might not be allowed to have a pet in their assisted living facility or nursing home, they might rather spend their time traveling, or they might actually be relieved to no longer have the responsibility.

What you don’t hear about very often are the dangers of owning a pet as a senior citizen. “Over 86,000 people per year have to go to the emergency room because of falls involving their dogs and cats, and these fractures can be devastating for the elderly,” said Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Seliger, 2012). If you think about it, you might know someone (maybe yourself) who has fallen trying to care for a pet.

Some doctors studying seniors and their pets believe that the death of an animal can affect an elderly person’s depression in a more severe way.

Some studies even find that the more attached an elderly person is to their pet, the more depressed they are. This could very well be a correlation, not causation, but it is something to consider if you are prone to depression or mental illness. Some doctors studying seniors and their pets believe that the death of an animal can affect an elderly person’s depression in a more severe way. Life can be isolating as you age, and the death of pet could add to this stress. Other studies have found that if you have a strong social network, having a pet makes no difference in your happiness level. These opposing studies create conflicting views on the subject, so it is wise to just do what’s best for you.

You know yourself better than anyone, so be honest about whether keeping your pet or adopting one is a good idea or not. Create a pros and cons list. Many doctors believe that the benefits outweigh the risks, but they might not for you. See if you can find a co-caretaker for your pet. Is your mobility good enough to not fall when picking up a dog that is running circles around you? Is it hard for you to bend down to their level to clean up after a cat or dog? Asking a loved one or volunteer agency to take care of the more physical aspects of pet care can alleviate stress and susceptibility to accidents. If you don’t have a close family member or friend to do this, you might have to give away your pet. This is a hard decision, and your doctor and family can help you make it.

The downside of pet ownership is a difficult subject to breach because no one wants to give up their beloved pet. Again, designating a trusted family member, neighbor, or friend to come check on you and your pet’s well-being is a great idea. If you have a grandchild or child whom bonds with your dog or cat, they might not mind coming over to let the dog out, or scoop out the cat litter. Don’t put yourself in danger of breaking bones simply because you are too proud to ask for help. Having a plan B and/or a pet helper may prevent injuries that lead to surgery, months of rehabilitation, and a lot of emotional stress.

How to Care for Your Pet While Aging in Place

Reach out to family members, friends, neighbors who care, or a nonprofit that provides assistance to aging pet owners.

Although, pets can do wonders for an elderly adult, the pet’s needs are important to keep in mind as well. In some cases, an elderly person may forget to medicate or feed their pet. They may get to the point where walking their dog is difficult. For these reasons, choosing a designated family member or in-home health aide that is willing to check on the pet and help take care of it would be ideal. Make sure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost (Remember the oxygen mask metaphor? You can’t take care of someone if you don’t care for yourself first). Some older folks go without food or necessities because money is tight, and they love their dog too much to let them suffer. Don’t be that person! Reach out to family members, friends, neighbors who care, or a nonprofit that provides assistance to aging pet owners. Veterinarians are good resources for finding pet care assistance.

Your well-being should be top priority. Have a succession plan for your pet. If you are an aging pet owner, create a succession plan you are comfortable with early on. Designating a god-parent or guardian for your pet in case you become ill or unable to care for the pet, is the humane, smart path to take. This designated guardian could be a family member, friend, neighbor, or trusted pet adoption agency.

If you do decide to give up your pet for adoption, an “open adoption” is best. Meet with your designated guardian beforehand, so that they can bond with your pet and see if they are really right for ownership. And, make sure that you will be allowed to visit your pet if you are able. If a family member or home health aide moves in to be a caregiver, they might not be able to take care of both you and your pet. A rambunctious, needy pet or a pet with multiple medications and a high maintenance routine may be too much work. Caregivers may not be willing to perform these tasks on top of other caregiving duties. This is a decision you will have to make together. Euthanizing a pet should be the last resort. Some older people believe that putting their animal down is the best option because the animal is so bonded to its owner that it would be too depressed to bond with a new owner. This is not normally the case. There are many options for adoption, foster care, and shelters that can take care of your pet.

Keep your pet for as long as possible, but don’t be afraid to start the succession plan when you need to. Taking away a pet may cause an elderly person to deteriorate mentally and physically, so make sure to allow regular visits with the pet. Many older folks look forward to these planned pet visits.

Conclusion

Owning a pet while aging in place is certainly not for everyone. Ask your veterinarian, family members, and doctor if this is the right decision for you and your health. If you are healthy enough or your caregiver is willing enough to care for a pet, the rewards of pet ownership can be life-changing. An aging dog, cat, or even bird could be the best medicine and your best friend, all in one.

Read more related articles at:

10 Reasons Older People Need Pets

The Healing Power of Pets for Seniors

Also, read one of our previous Blogs at:

5 Things You Need To Know About Protecting Your Pets After You Die

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

Click here for a short informative video from our own Attorney Bill O’Leary.

pet trusts

How To Make Plans To Provide Care For Your Pet If You Can’t

How To Make Plans To Provide Care For Your Pet If You Can’t

The best way to take precautions and ensure your pet will be well cared for is by doing some estate planning.

Consider what would happen if you became incapacitated without estate plan provisions for your pet: A legal process could be initiated to establish a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship on your behalf and a judge would choose a guardian for you. This person would be authorized to make decisions about your finances and your property, including your pet, because the law treats pets as property.

Although the guardian may understand the importance of your pet in your life and do what’s necessary to keep the two of you together, it’s also possible that he or she may decide your pet is a drain on your estate. Then, the guardian might send the pet to a shelter or give him or her to someone.

 

A Durable Power of Attorney

One option is to designate someone to act as your financial agent upon your incapacitation, by preparing a durable power of attorney document. This person would be legally entitled to make decisions about your finances and your personal property, including your pet, without the court’s involvement.

There is a drawback to such an arrangement, however.

Although your financial agent would have permission to manage your financial life, your power of attorney document won’t include instructions for how you want things managed. Those details will be up to the discretion of your financial agent. So, you won’t have any control over what happens to your pet.

A Revocable Living Trust for Your Pet

A far better alternative is to set up a revocable living trust.

In your trust document, you can spell out what you want to happen to your pet (and to all of your property), should you become incapacitated, and after you die, too. Here, the person you designate as your trustee will be legally bound to carry out your wishes.

The wishes can be as specific as you want. For example, you can require that if you become incapacitated, your pet should remain with you and how much you want the trustee to spend from the trust’s assets on things like food, veterinarian care, grooming and toys.

Alternatively, your trust document can designate a caretaker for your pet or state that your pet should go to a no-kill shelter. If you choose the first option, you can also use your trust document to ensure that the caretaker is compensated for assuming the responsibility of caring for your pet and reimbursed for any pet-related expenses.

An Animal Life-Care Center

Still another option is to specify that your pet be moved to a place like the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center at Texas A & M University. Pets who live in such a facility are cared for by veterinary students and live luxurious lives. The cost is pricey however, so this option is out of reach for many pet owners. Enrollment fees at the Stevenson Center, for instance, range from $25,000 to $100,000 per pet.

Your trust document could also stipulate that if you must move to an assisted living facility or a nursing home, you’ll want regular visits with your pet, “pet therapy” or to be placed in a facility with a house pet that provides companionship to residents.

Pet therapy typically involves a cat or dog and a handler who interacts with the residents or patients. The goal is to help individuals recover from, or cope with, a physical or mental health problem.

A Standalone Pet Trust

And here is one last option: Create a standalone pet trust. This specialized living trust would focus only on your pet; all the trust’s funds would be earmarked to pay your pet’s care and well-being and for services of a caretaker. The trustee could either be the caretaker or someone else who you’ve designated. This kind of trust would give you complete control over what happens to your pet.

Hiring an estate planning attorney to draw up a standalone pet trust would likely cost $1,500 to $5,000. If you already have a revocable living trust, your pet trust could be built into it.

One final piece of advice: work with an estate attorney with pet planning experience. And do it sooner rather than later. A debilitating illness or injury can occur quickly and without warning, Once it does, you’ll have no control over the future of your pet unless you’ve done the right planning.

Read more related articles at:

Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

Also, read one of our previous blogs at:

Pet Trusts Can Protect Your Pets after You’re Gone

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

Click here for a short informative video from our own Attorney Bill O’Leary.

 

 

Pet Trusts

5 Things You Need To Know About Protecting Your Pets After You Die

5 Things You Need To Know About Protecting Your Pets After You Die

5 Things You Need To Know About Protecting Your Pets After You Die. Some days it seems like the only thing everyone can agree on is how much we love our pets. They are always happy to see us, their love is unconditional and they welcome us home at the end of the day. Being greeted by your dog’s wet nose and wagging tail can make all your troubles melt away – it’s better than a Calgon bath.

So what happens to our trusty companions when we die? Who will care for them? And will that person have enough money for a lifetime of caretaking? Here are five things you need to know about protecting your beloved Mr. Jiggles when you are gone.

    1. Pets are tangible property. In most states, pets fall into the same category as your car, furniture and jewelry. While they mean so much more to us than that, the law looks at them as chattel. Since the law regards pets as possessions, ownership of them is typically transferred in a will along with the artwork and household furnishings.
    2. Choose a caretaker wisely. Most people leave their pets to a child or immediate family member who will happily take care of the pet without additional monies left expressly for that purpose. If you don’t have a close family member to take your pet, consider leaving them to a friend, neighbor or other more distant relative. One of my elderly clients is leaving her pet to her dog walker who has already agreed to take the dog. Other clients, who have no one to take their pets, have left them to the local humane society or pet shelter with a substantial donation.
    3. Follow the money. Some clients will leave an outright gift of a certain dollar amount. The money is intended to be used to care for the pet, but often there is no requirement that the person use the money for the pet. Be aware that cousin Louie could take your cat Fluffy and the money, but then drop Fluffy off at a shelter the next day. You can condition the cash gift to Louie on his keeping Fluffy, but who is going to police that? And how do you ensure the level of care that Fluffy receives? A pet trust is the best way to prevent this scenario from happening.
    4. Creating a pet trust. Many states allow for pet trusts. You create a trust and on your death transfer ownership of the pet and cash to the trustee. The trustee then has to use the cash to care for the pet. On the animal’s death, the remaining assets are distributed in accordance with your written instructions in the trust. The trustee cannot use the trust assets for himself, although he can take a fee.
  1. Don’t leave your pet too much money. If you do, the court may reduce the amount of money held in trust for the pet’s benefit. Courts do not like to see folks punishing their heirs by leaving all the money to the dog. Remember the story of Leona Helmsley, the New York hotel heiress who left the bulk of her $12 million estate to her little white Maltese named Trouble? Helmsley was dubbed the “Queen of Mean” for disinheriting family members and leaving so much to a dog instead of family members or charities. A judge later reduced Trouble’s trust to $2 million, but Trouble still lived out her life in the lap of luxury with round-the-clock care and a security guard in Florida (there were kidnapping threats). The cost of her care was reportedly $100,000 per year.

Most pets do not need $100,000 per year for care. A much smaller amount will often suffice. And when the pet passes away, the rest can go to your family members, or better yet, to your local pet shelter or humane society.

Read more related articles at:

5 ways to make sure your dog will be protected after you die

How To Make Sure Your Pets Are Taken Care Of After You’re Gone

Also, read one of our previous Blogs at:

Estate Planning for Pets: How to Protect Your Furry Friends

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

Click here for a short informative video from our own Attorney Bill O’Leary.

service animals and airlines

Service Animals & Airlines: New Guidance Issued by DOT

Service Animals & Airlines: New Guidance Issued by DOT

 

Service Animals & Airlines: New Guidance Issued by DOT. There has been a lot of heated debate on the topic of traveling with emotional support animals (ESA), psychiatric service animals (PSA), and traditional service animals. To resolve some of the conflict, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Final Statement elaborating on the department’s expectations and priorities regarding the treatment of passengers traveling with animals.

It is well established that individuals with disabilities are permitted to bring their service animals to most places they choose to go. Businesses are prohibited from refusing entry or service to an individual with a service animal, unless particular concerns are present. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is probably the law that comes to mind in these situations. It is certainly one law that protects those with disabilities from ill-treatment. But, did you know that the ADA does not apply to the skies? The ADA does not apply to airlines, their facilities, or services – that is where the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) swoops in.

Some Basic Comparisons

While the two Acts are quite similar, there are notable differences worth investigation. The DOT oversees the ACAA, which applies to airlines, their facilities, and services. The Department of Justice (DOJ) oversees the ADA, which applies to airports, their facilities, and services.

The DOT regards “any individual who has a physical or mental impairment that, on a permanent or temporary basis, substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment” as an individual with a disability. Correspondingly, according to the DOJ, “[t]he term “disability” means, with respect to an individual[,] (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment […].”

Wild Skies

In recent years, airplane cabins have started to look like menageries – passengers taking full advantage, and sometimes abusing, the ability to take certain animals along for the ride. With the uprising of sketchy online businesses “certifying” run-of-the-mill pets as service animals, or worse, providing doctor’s letters prescribing support animals, airlines began cracking down on the abuse. Airline restrictions became tighter and created questions of disability rights violations. Passengers flooded the DOT with complaints of unfairness and illegality.

In response to the rise of animal-toting airline-passenger complaints about unreasonable airline regulations, the DOT issued a Final Statement elaborating on its expectations and priorities under the ACAA. The statement provides clarification on the permissible and prohibited actions that airlines may take in regulating the in-cabin presence of various types of animals.

Animal Hierarchy

There are four general categories of animals when it comes to disability laws: pets, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), Psychiatric Support Animals (PSAs), and service animals. In the aerial context, pets are often stored in the cargo hold of the aircraft and require an additional fee to the owner. ESAs and PSAs, are generally permitted in the cabin if certain criteria are met. Service animals are heavily protected and taken very seriously under both laws. Under the ADA, only service animals and some PSAs are protected.

Each Act provides guidance on various service animals, their legitimacy, and limitations. The ACAA establishes what animals are permitted in the cabins of aircrafts, and the ADA established what animals are permitted nearly anywhere else. Both Acts consider dogs and miniature horses to be “common” service animals, where the ACAA expanded the group to include cats as well. The ADA does not recognize any other species of service animal.

“Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog [or miniature horse] that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog [or miniature horse] must be directly related to the person’s disability.” The ACAA does not have a technical definition within the text of the Act, but the department informally explained, in 2018, that the “DOT considers a service animal to be any animal that is individually trained to assist [sic] a qualified person with a disability or any animal necessary for the emotional well-being of a passenger.” (Note, however, that back-end of this statement contradicts some other provisions of the ACAA on the differentiation between service animals and emotional support animals.)

Both Acts give the highest protection to service animals. The text of the ACAA specifically categorizes service animals separately from ESAs and PSAs, which are lumped together. The ADA considers specifically trained PSAs to be genuine service dogs. The ADA explicitly does not recognize ESAs under the Act, where the ACAA provides them protection. Both Acts recognize the potential need for an individual to require the assistance of more than one service animal; but, the ACAA also permits a disabled passenger one ESA in addition to (up to) two non-ESAs.

Additional ACAA Clarifications

With the exception of snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders, airlines cannot categorically prohibit the use of species that are not dogs, cats, or miniature horses. An airline could determine that the particular animal compromises the health or safety of others, and therefore prohibit its entry onto the aircraft, but on a case-by-case basis only. Further, airlines are prohibited from breed bans as well.

Airlines are permitted to require travelers with ESAs and PSAs to: check-in early; provide advanced notice; provide a recent doctor’s note from their treating physician verifying that the individual suffers from a recognized emotional or mental disability, that the presence of the animal is necessary, and lists the provider’s credentials. Airlines are absolutely prohibited from requiring traditional service animal users to check in early, provide advance notice, or provide additional documentation, on flights less than eight hours.

Limited questions are permitted by both Acts when a disability is not obvious or clear. The ACAA permits airline personnel to ask “how does your animal assist you with your disability?” For service animals, this verbal assurance by the handler, in addition to any ID cards, harnesses, etc. must be accepted as evidence that the animal is a service animal. For ESAs and PSAs, the airlines may ask for documentation of vaccination, training, behavior, etc., for the purpose of determining the potential threat to the health or safety of others – but, generally, if the individual has complied with the advanced notice and check-in rules, has their doctor’s note, and does not have an unruly or unusual animal companion, the airline must permit its attendance.

The Long and the Short of It

The ADA protects the disabled on the ground; the ACAA protects the disabled in the skies. The DOJ controls the ADA; the DOT controls the ACAA. The ACAA has carved out additional service animal protections for Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals; the ADA only recognizes traditional service dogs (and miniature horses), including PSAs that have been specifically trained to complete a task for its disabled handler.

Traditional service animals are a familiar and, generally, accepted tool for many disabled people. However, the influx of psychiatric and emotional support critters exposed grey areas that the public was happy to explore. Prior to official guidance from the DOT, airlines and passengers were left without mutually understood limits for the presence and use of these creatures. As passengers pushed the bounds, airlines feverishly fought back with restrictions and refusals. The DOT has now offered airlines and passengers a better understanding of the department’s priorities, permissions, and definitive prohibitions. Both sides now have the explanation needed to better protect their specific interests and rights under the ACAA.

Read more related articles here:

New DOT rule paves the way for airlines to ban emotional support animals on flights

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals

Also, read one of our previous Blogs here:

Pandemic Pets and Pet Companionship: 7 Benefits/Considerations for Care Coordination and Estate Planning

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

 

Pet Trusts

Pandemic Pets and Pet Companionship: 7 Benefits/Considerations for Care Coordination and Estate Planning

Pandemic Pets and Pet Companionship: 7 Benefits/Considerations for Care Coordination and Estate Planning

One thing that many people learned as they were forced to stay at home during the pandemic is that pet companionship is important. For many, life trapped in their home would’ve been unbearable had they not had their furry friends.

An unanticipated effect of the pandemic was “a surge in interest in fostering and adopting pets.” Although unanticipated, this effect is not surprising given the cancellation of social human interaction during the stay-at-home orders.

With the surge in pet adoption, the significance and importance of care coordination and estate planning advice in regard to pets became increasingly clear.

Below are seven benefits for pet owners and key considerations for aging individuals and people with special needs.

  1. Reducing Isolation and Loneliness
  2. Lowering Stress and Anxiety
  3. Improving Fitness
  4. Increasing Social Interaction and Connection to the Community
  5. Improving Cardiovascular Health
  6. Improving Signs of Depression
  7. Providing Routine and a Sense of Purpose

Considerations:

  • Choose someone you trust and who knows your pet to designate as a temporary or permanent caregiver for the pet.
  • Estimate how much it will cost to feed, care for, and provide veterinary treatment for your pet’s lifetime.
  • Include pets in your estate plan to ensure that they have a caregiver and money is set aside to pay for care.
  • Write down information about the pet’s feeding schedule, personality and behavior, medical conditions, and veterinarian information and provide the information to the designated caregiver.
  • Consider the benefits of pet trusts.

Read more related articles at: 

3 Financial Planning Tips For Pets Owners

Yes, You Should Include Your Dog in Your Will

Also, read one of our previous Blogs at:

Do You Have a Pet Trust?

Establish a Pet Trust to Protect Your Pets After You’re Gone

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

 

Cat Is Fighting for Her Inheritance?

Cat Is Fighting for Her Inheritance?

A year later, and the estate of Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld is not yet finalized. However, some details have emerged that, while Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette is an heir, she isn’t the only one who will inherit a share of Lagerfeld’s grand fortune.

The seven beneficiaries are trying to access Lagerfeld’s assets that include real estate in Paris and Monaco, a bookstore and designer furniture.

Choupette is a blue-cream tortie Birman cat who was owned by German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld from around December 2011 until Lagerfeld’s death in February 2019 at the age of 85.

The designer’s feline has her own agent and, according to The New York Times, at the height of her fame she had two minders, a bodyguard, a concierge veterinarian and a personal chef.

Wealth Advisor’s article entitled “Karl Lagerfeld’s cat is locked in inheritance battle” says that Lagerfeld’s “trusted” accountant for many decades, 87-year-old Lucien Frydlender has been named to manage the creative director’s finances. In addition, Frydlender is responsible for distributing the estate, according to Lagerfeld’s will.

However, an investigation by French publication Le Parisienfeatured in Voici magazine found that Frydlender hasn’t been taking calls from the beneficiaries. The magazine also says that “after closing his office in September 2019, the former collaborator of Karl Lagerfeld has simply disappeared from the radar,” raising questions for those involved.

Frydlender’s wife has defended her husband and assured the public that there’s nothing suspicious going on. She says he’s not “on an island paradise with a hidden treasure.” Instead, she tells reporters that he’s “very sick”.

When Choupette the cat will get her inheritance and what that will look like is unknown. It’s been more that a year since the death of her owner, Lagerfeld. Choupette fans have been concerned for the pet, but the cat isn’t scrounging in garbage cans: she made over $4 million in 2015.

“People came by the store and said how sad they were, and half of it was about Choupette,” Caroline Lebar, head of communications for the Karl Lagerfeld brand, admits. “They’d say, ‘If she’s alone, I’ll take her home.'”

However, Lebar promises Choupette is in safe hands, living in Paris with Lagerfeld’s former housekeeper Françoise Caçote. “She is in good shape, and is surrounded by love.”

Reference: Wealth Advisor (June 9, 2020) “Karl Lagerfeld’s cat is locked in inheritance battle”

Read more related articles at: 

Karl Lagerfeld’s cat to inherit a fortune, but may not be richest pet

Karl Lagerfeld: Designer’s cat Choupette ‘named in his will’

Also, read one of our previous Blogs at:

How Do I Include My Pet in My Estate Plan?

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