A sizable portion (surprising to some) of my law practice is pet estate planning. Whether it’s preparing a will and designating someone in it to care for your pet if you die, or creating a pet trust for your pet (recommended), or adding provisions to an existing will or trust, people see pets as family and plan for them as they do their children or other beneficiaries. People engage in pet estate planning for everything from one dog, to a stable of horses, to parrots who often live to age 60 or 70. (Blatant plug–I was one of the first Ohio attorneys to publish an article on pet estate planning after the change in Ohio law that permitted it. I wish everyone planned for their pets in this way, and I’m happy to help with documents and, or, letters of intent regarding their care.)
As difficult as it is to plan for a day when we might not be able to care for our pets, it is incredibly difficult to know when it is time to humanely let our pets die. How do you know when it’s time to let them go? That decision is fairly easy when there’s visible suffering, but the signs aren’t always so clear.
Veterinarian Alice Villalobos, DVM created a scale that can help guide pet owners in deciding whether euthanasia is appropriate. If you score higher than 35 on the scale, then perhaps supportive care is appropriate instead of euthanasia. Whatever your score is on this scale, my suggestion is to discuss everything with your veterinarian.
If I can help you plan for your pet should something happen to you, please email me at julie@juliemillslaw, or visit http://www.juliemillslaw.com for additional information.