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Creating estate plans for our furry friends

People all over New Jersey are all too familiar with the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Many people were displaced from their homes, and some may never be able to return. Although many people were concerned about the safety of their family members, some were also concerned about the safety of their four-legged friends.

More than half of all families in the United States have a pet. However, many people do not have plans in place for their furry friends in the event that a pet outlives its owner.

When arrangements aren't made for a pet, they may be placed in a shelter. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, up to 7 million pets are put in shelters each year. Sadly, between 3 million and 4 million animals are euthanized when permanent homes cannot be found for them.

"Storms like this could be what motivates people to update their will or draft one in the first place," an official with the ASPCA said. "We want people to consider making those same arrangements for their care of their pets, so they don't end up homeless with no one to care for them."

To plan for a tragic event, parents should appoint a guardian for their children. Making those same plans for a pet is also important. However, an ASPCA survey shows that only around 17 percent of pet owners have plans in place for the pets.

People don't like to think about the potential for tragedy to strike. However, Hurricane Sandy shows that people are extremely vulnerable. In addition to having plans in place for children and valuable assets, people must be certain their pets are accounted for.

Source: Today, "Superstorm showed need for estate planning for pets," Jacoba Urist, Nov. 12, 2012

Our firm works with people throughout the estate planning process. For more information, please visit our Kearny estate planning page.

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