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Are Your Sure You're Taking Care Of Your Kids?

Ask almost any pet owner what their feelings are for Fido or Fluffy and they'll invariably say, "She's my baby," or, "They are my children."

And just like children, they pine for us if we go away for a few days. When we come back, their caregiver will relate how "clingy" Cuddles has been. While it may not be easy to prove, other than through anecdotal evidence, it seems clear that animals mourn our death just as much as do close family. It may be worse for them, in a sense; they cannot "talk out" their feelings.

Ask if anyone outside the immediate family knows what their favorite toys are, or what medications they take, and the answer is almost always: "No." If you accept as fact that they pine, and if you really care for them, then it"s clear we should do something to make our unfathomable disappearance from their lives no more difficult than it has to be.

Children are always mentioned in wills, but the only time animals seem to be is when a wealthy owner leaves her cat millions. That makes headlines.

I'm not suggesting pets should be named in your will. For one thing, since most pets live far shorter lives than our own, to do so would necessitate frequent rewrites. What I do recommend, though, is that a written record be made of as many details as possible so your pets don't have unnecessary stresses when you are no longer around to care for them.

How much should you record? Assume a stranger will take up with them where you leave off. What's the pet's name? Is she an indoor or outdoor pet? What type of pet? What is obvious to you may not be so obvious to someone who doesn't know him or her? Without listing the type of animal along with its name, how will anyone know which is Chuckles [the budgie] and Clara [the cat]" You might also add the breed, whether or not the animal has a pedigree, and if so where you keep its papers.

Certainly you should list the name, address and phone number of your pet's veterinarian. He or she will have its medical history on file. Some animals have medical insurance. If yours does, where do you keep the policy"

Are there special diet instructions? For instance, what is Fluffy's favorite brand of cat food? What will she turn her haughty nose up at?

Is your pet on medication? If so, where is it and what are the instructions for its use?

What arrangements do you normally make for Fido when you're away? Are there any other specific wishes you have for your pet if it outlives you?

And is there a favorite "tickle" spot, chair for sunning in, certain thing you do with your pet at specific times, or special treat?

Leaving a record of Fido's and Fluffy's needs, likes and dislikes is one way in which you can repay them for all the trust, love, loyalty and affection they have given to you.

This is just one of dozens of helpful ideas presented in The Estate Manual and its electronic counterpart, THEMES™
.The manual organizes the human side of estate planning. This area is often overlooked, but it makes a huge (and obvious) difference to survivors. It is an easy-to-use system for making sure nothing is left out of your planning. Learn more at:
Estate Manual. Com
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