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Pet Owners

Estate Planning For Pet Owners

Did you know that the human brain has a built-in mechanism to avoid thinking about its own mortality? Yair Dor-Ziderman, a Research Fellow at the Integrated Brain and Behaviour Research Centre at the University of Haifa, has delved into this fascinating aspect of human psychology. His research highlights how our brains instinctively dissociate from thoughts of death related to ourselves, creating a barrier that makes us hesitant to accept such information as reliable.

This intriguing insight may shed light on some concerning statistics recently revealed by the Angus Reed Institute. Shockingly, a significant percentage of Canadians; across different age groups, do not have a Will. This oversight becomes particularly poignant when considering the welfare of beloved pets after their owners pass away.

The statistics are striking:

  • 69% of individuals between the ages of 35 to 44 do not have a Will.
  • 49% of Canadians aged 45 to 54 do not have a Will.
  • 34% of people aged 55 to 64 do not have a Will.

These numbers reflect a widespread lack of Estate Planning, which can have serious repercussions for both human heirs and cherished animal companions.

Now, let’s focus on a crucial aspect often overlooked in Estate Planning discussions: the future of our four-legged family members. With over half of Canadians being pet owners, it’s alarming to note that only 7% have made formal arrangements for their pet’s care in the event of their passing.

This serves as a public service announcement to all pet owners: If your Estate Plans do not include provisions for your pets, or if you haven’t drafted a Will, there’s a risk that your beloved animals might not receive the care they deserve once you’re no longer around.

The emotional bond between humans and their pets is profound, and ensuring their well-being after we’re gone is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. So, what can pet owners do to secure their furry companions’ future?

  1. Include Pets in Your Estate Plans: When drafting your Will or creating a trust, explicitly designate caregivers and set aside funds for your pets’ care. Specify details about their daily needs, medical requirements, and any special considerations.
  2. Choose Responsible Caretakers: Select individuals who are willing and capable of providing a loving and stable environment for your pets. Discuss your wishes with them beforehand to ensure they understand and agree to take on this responsibility.
  3. Regularly Review and Update: Life circumstances change, so it’s essential to review your Estate Plans periodically. Ensure that your designated caregivers are still willing and able to care for your pets, and update any financial provisions as needed.
  4. Consult with Legal and Financial Advisors: Seek professional guidance to navigate the complexities of Estate Planning, especially concerning pets. Legal and financial experts can help you create legally binding arrangements that prioritize your pets’ welfare.

By addressing these considerations and taking proactive steps, pet owners can rest assured that their furry family members will be well-cared for even when they’re no longer present. Let’s honour the unconditional love our pets give us by ensuring their future is secure.


A Comprehensive Guide to Crafting a Will in Ontario

Justice Ontario Estate Law

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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.

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