Pet estate planning -- are we barking mad?

Pet estate planning -- are we barking mad?

Pet estate planning -- are we barking mad?

It was only a matter of time, with a growing number of advisors now adding financial planning for pets to their re-pet-oire -- a very obvious attempt to appeal to dog-mad Canadians.

Laugh -- or bark -- if you will, but with so much time, love and money invested in pets, says CFP Eve Kaplan, pet planning is both prudent and responsible.

She's outlining three key points of consideration.

1. Pet ownership issues should be an explicit part of an overall financial plan created for your dog- or cat-owner clients

2. Pet insurance has also come to the fore in terms of capturing client interest and support. That includes, believe it or not, considerations around disability insurance for pet-doting clients in order to stave off any need for  giving away pets or, worse yet, "euthanizing" them under those curcumstances

3. Finally, estate planning increasingly includes active provisioning for a client's surviving pets with inheritance specifically applied to the well-being of those wards. That's seperate and apart from anything bequeathed to the family and friends left to care for them

That third point is most likely to trip up advisors unprepared to meet the growing demands of dog owners more and more called "doggie mommies and daddies."

According to Kaplan, a fee-only advisor, mere "wills are problematic since they can lack power of attorney provisions and don’t cover pet care if an estate is stuck in probate or if the owner is still alive (but unable to care for his/her pet."

She consoles pet trusts and a discussion with the client on  adding provisions for a pet to estate documents