Animal Writes
16 May 1999 Issue
Who Will Love My Pet?

Estate planning for pets can insure a lifetime care program if something
happens to you...

Companion animals add so much to our lives and give us joy, loyalty and
unconditional love. Yet, when planning for the disbursement of our estates,
many of us routinely leave the future of our pets to the whimsy of fate.

Perhaps because our pet's life span may be shorter than ours we tend to
forget that something can happen to us first. Or, we may think that family,
friends, even the executor of our Will knows what is best for our companion.

Those may be flawed assumptions. For example many of the older pets
brought to the SPCA are surrendered by the relative of a deceased person.
Sometimes this may be the wish of the deceased, but often it is not.

When planning your pet's future you may consider friends or family as care-
takers. However, their circumstances may also change, leaving them unable
to provide the intended care or unwilling to take on a permanent family or
financial responsibility. It is important to be sure that they clearly understand
your wishes.

Only you can make the proper decisions concerning your pet's needs. Failing
to plan may put your animal friend at grave risk in the future, not only of
losing you but possibly of losing the opportunity to live out its natural life in a
loving and caring home.

Since you cannot legally leave money directly to your pet you need to
designate a caretaker in a Trust or Will and request that the funds be used for
food, shelter and veterinary care as needed.

The SPCA of Texas has developed a Life Care Program for companion
animals which offers you some favorable options and guarantees for pet's
natural lifetime. Since the SPCA of Texas will be here far into the foreseeable
future, pursuing its mission of animal welfare, you may rest assured that your
pet will be secure, loved and cared for, no matter what may happen.

Whether you decide that it is best to find your pet a new family or to place it
in a Life Care Cottage, the SPCA of Texas can help you. Financial
arrangements for temporary or permanent care can be made through your
estate plan rather than current income. You may also be able to leave a
lasting endowment of your choice that will continue to work for other
companion animals beyond your pet's lifetime.

How Does the Program Work?
The pet owner arranges a gift to the SPCA of Texas in an estate plan that
takes effect upon death. The SPCA agrees to one of the following life care

1. An estate gift to the SPCA of Texas in any amount assures that the pet
will be placed with a loving family.
2. A minimum gift of $10,000 assures pet placement with a loving family,
monitored by the SPCA Quality Control Department for life, plus free
lifetime healthcare by the SPCA veterinary staff.
3. A minimum gift of $25,000 for each small animal (dog, cat, bird,
amphibian) and $50,000 for each large animal (horse, pony, donkey, llama)
assures lifetime care in an SPCA Pet Life Care Cottage where all of its
needs are met. Only the annual earned income from the gift is used to
support the program.

An irrevocable gift or endowed fund also insures that your pet will be cared
for during your temporary disability or confinement to a nursing home.

Should your current pet not survive you, substitution may be made for a future
generation pet.

Estate gifts for multiple pets may be negotiated after the minimum level is met.

A Review of the Benefits
By naming the SPCA of Texas as a beneficiary in your estate plan you are
assured loving attentive care for your pet when you are no longer here to
provide care yourself. You have the peace of mind knowing that your pet
won't become an innocent victim of someone's inability, unwillingness,
negligence or abuse. You are reassured that your surviving pet will not be
needlessly or prematurely put to sleep. You have provided your pet with its
own lifetime income and medical care. You can depend on the SPCA of
Texas to be here to provide all of the professionalism, love and lifetime care
that your pet requires.

You and your pet receive:
Security, dependability, supportive mission, stability, peace of mind, funding
options, lasting endowment.

Your pet receives:
A clean, modern, state-of-the art retirement home, socialization, individual
attention and love, a doggie den and cat playroom, healthcare, warm and cozy
sleeping quarter, pet income, loving care, permanent home, special diets as
needed, daily exercises by experienced volunteers or staff. Large playing and
running areas, NO CAGING, animal caretakers living near the animals
providing a homelike atmosphere.

The Lynn T. and Russell E. Dealey Life Care Cottage
The Lynn T. and Russell E. Dealey Life Care Cottage for pets who survive
their owner was made possible by the Dealey's generous gift. The Life Care
Cottage is located at Custer Road on FM 720. The cottage will be part of the
new Russell H. Perry Animal Care, Medical and Education Center.
Currently the Life Care Cottage is being renovated but will be open soon.

For more information and guidelines to help your counselor contact
Kenneth Comerford,
Director of Planned Giving at the SPCA of Texas
(214)651-9611, extension 110
or email: [email protected] 

[Editor's Note: Since you may not live near Texas, you might look for
a similar program near you.]

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