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  • Writer's pictureKathy L. McNair, Esq.

Planning for Your Pet's Future: Estate Planning for Pet Owners

Updated: Jan 9

Have you considered what will happen to your beloved pet if you're suddenly unable to care for them due to an emergency or hospitalization? It's a scenario that pet owners often overlook, but it's an essential part of planning for the future. This is especially important for seniors who are aging alone.


As an elder law attorney, I once worked with a solo senior who was hospitalized, leaving her cat alone in a home that was unsafe to enter. Despite the challenging conditions, we managed to feed the cat by leaving food just inside the front door. Eventually, with the help of Animal Control, we were able to safely remove the cat and reunite it with its owner in an assisted living facility. This experience underscores the importance of having a plan in place for pets.


Here are some steps you can take to ensure your pet will be well cared for, even if you're temporarily or permanently unable to do so.


1. Identify Potential Caregivers

Start by identifying friends, family members, or neighbors who could step in to care for your pet in an emergency. Make sure they have a set of your house keys and know where to find pet food, leashes, and other necessary items. If you don't have anyone nearby who can help, consider reaching out to a professional pet-sitting service.


2. Create a Pet Information Sheet

Prepare a document that includes all the essential information about your pet: their feeding schedule, any medications they take, their vet's contact information, and any special needs or behaviors. This will be invaluable for anyone who steps in to care for your pet.


3. Set Up a Pet Emergency Fund

Consider setting aside some money to cover your pet's care costs in case of an emergency. This could be used to pay for a pet sitter, vet bills, or other unexpected expenses.


4. Legal Considerations

Consider setting up a pet trust or including your pet in your will. This can provide additional assurance that your pet will be cared for according to your wishes.


5. Communicate Your Plan

Make sure that the people in your life know about your plan. This includes not only the people who will care for your pet but also your healthcare providers, so they know who to contact in an emergency.


Since, our pets rely on us completely, it's our responsibility to ensure they're cared for, no matter what happens. By taking these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that your pet will always be in good hands.

If you live in the Boston, Massachusetts area and you are interested in including your pet in your estate plan, at Senior Solutions Attorneys at Law, we are ready to help. To find out more, please call us at 617-489-5900 or use this link to schedule a free consultation: If you live elsewhere, please visit for a directory of professionals who help seniors planning on aging alone thrive.

We are caring Boston Elder Law attorneys, serving all of Massachusetts, and ready to help you with Medicaid and MassHealth Planning, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Probate, and Special Needs Planning.

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