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At Prepare Your Affairs, our main goal is to prepare “the survivors” of a loved one’s passing. Sometimes, beloved survivors are also pets. As a general rule, most pets have a shorter lifespan than their humans. It’s not a bad idea, however, to consider the comfort of furry family and friends if their people pass first. Here are a few ideas that could be helpful.

Emergency Caregivers
Think of someone that is close in proximity to you that has had positive interactions with your pet. Be certain they are someone that is comfortable taking them in for a few days until a permanent placement can be made. Be clear about your pet’s routine and basic needs. If possible, give them access to your home for their food, toys, cage, etc. Share veterinarian’s as well as your chosen permanent caregiver’s housing information.

Permanent Caregivers
Sometimes your permanent caregiver choice lives far from you and, therefore, can’t be your emergency resource. When you choose a new home for your pet, consider their ideas and values on pet care and euthanasia. They may not be just like you and will undoubtedly make different choices than you, but it will help if you believe they are on the same page as far as how they treat their own pets. Make sure the whole household is willing and able to take on the responsibility of a new family member. See that the person making decisions surrounding your finances knows to supply the new family some funds to support your furry friend.

Permanent Housing
If you don’t have anyone in particular in mind, or your friends/family are unable to help, consider these options.

  • Adoption. This would require your emergency caregivers to take on this responsibility to find the right home. If they are willing and able, and you trust them to know what’s best for your pet, this would be optimal.
  • Pet Retirement farms. There are farms and homes where pets can go if their owners die and they have nowhere else to go. There are some wonderful people out there that have created space for animals to live out the rest of their days happily. Research them carefully before you choose one. If you find one that is compatible for your pet, think about giving donations to them now.
  • Fostering. Check out different fostering organizations if your emergency help is unable to take the time for adoption. Some are for specific types of animals as well as breeds and reasons for their need of shelter. Humanepro.com is a good resource for guidance.

Pet Directives in a Will or Trust
Most wishes for pet care can be put in writing and be sufficient. However, if you have very specific wishes that could be contested for any reason, feel free to have an attorney draw them up in your will or trust. If this is the case, make certain that the executor of your estate is aware of these provisions and has access to the funds necessary to carry out these wishes to provide for your pet the way you deem necessary.

As you consider the comfort and care of all those that love you after your passing, remember that your animals would benefit from these thoughtful decisions as well. When your end-of-life choices are prepared and documented, your people and pets, though grieving, can still continue living with a little more ease and peace.

If you need further assistance or guidance, contact Prepare Your Affairs at peaceofmind@affairsinorder.com.


What would you want for your pet(s) if you were to pass away before them? Are you and family members on the same page? Don’t assume. Talk about it. Your partner may have different choices. Whatever the end result or your conversation, if there’s consensus – WRITE IT DOWN! Put this information with other important end of life documents.

*Consider downloading pet directive forms from Prepare Your Affairs at affairsinorder.com

Prepare Your Affairs Founders


Corey and Katie entered widowhood in 2016 after losing spouses to cancer.  They met and connected in a widow/widower support group and later married.  One of the principles they learned from their own experiences and those of other surviving spouses is that the more prepared a surviving spouse is on a financial, legal, emotional, and practical level, the better they will adjust to widowhood.  They will maintain their independence and control of their assets and be freer to properly grieve and move forward in life.  Conversely, those who are not prepared are more likely to have their lives flipped upside down.  They may need to move and uproot kids because they can't afford the mortgage, rely on family or other charities to financially support them, and/or change jobs to allow them to better serve as a single parent.  We hope to share what we've learned and help other families properly get their affairs in order and be prepared with confidence, peace of mind, and in control of their assets.