What options are available to ensure the lifetime care for your pets?

Pet Trusts Created by Estate Planners

Sanctuaries and Lifetime Care Facilities

Care Instruction Forms: Document Care Instructions for Your Pets (Special Edition Newsletter PDF)

The "Animal Care Panel": A legal arrangement allowing you to keep your pets cared for all together and in your home

Recommended Resources and Websites

Archives: 2004-2013 Information


2nd Chance 4 pets is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization staffed by volunteers located throughout the United States and beyond. As an advocacy group, we provide education and resources to pet owners, veterinarians and animal care organizations in an effort to reduce the number of companion animals euthanized due to the death or disability of the humans who care for them.


What options are available to ensure the lifetime care for your pets?

Pet Trusts Created by Estate Planners:

While a pet trust may not be completely full proof, pet trusts can be a good option. An excellent resource is www.professorbeyer.com.


Sanctuaries and Lifetime Care Facilities

For people who have no one that can serve as a potential caregiver; animal sanctuaries can be good options but may not be able to provide the level of care your pet is accustomed to. We recommend that you inspect the program or facility to make sure it could be an environment where your pet will receive adequate love and care. The following is a listing of facilities by US Region:

Perpetual Care Programs

Similar to sanctuaries, these programs offer an alternative solution for pet owners who have no caregivers that will be able to care for pets should the pets outlive their owners.

Evaluating a Sanctuary or Perpetual Care Program

We strongly recommend that you physically inspect a program or facility to make sure it could be an environment where your pet will receive adequate love and care.

Recommended Resources and Websites: Estate Planning for Pets

Article: Pet Trusts: Frequently Asked Questions (Professor Gerry Beyer)
Website (Professor Gerry Buyer):
Website (Attorney and Author Peggy Hoyt):
Website (HSUS-Providing for Your Pet's Future Without You)

Recommended Resources and Websites: Organizations Benefiting Our Animal Companions

Website (C.A.R.E Organization):
Website (Friends of Animal Foundation):

Website (Petorama):
Website (The Pet Rescue):

Website (The Phoenix Rescue Group):
Website (Pug Pros):
Website (Splashdogs):
Website NYC dog walkers in Lower Manhattan, NYC dog blog
Lets Go Walkies
Adopting pets from animal shelters and rescue groups:
Locating local animal shelter and rescue groups:
Finding a missing pet:
Feral cats and cat education:
Pet care tips:
Report animal cruelty:
Volunteer opportunities with animal organizations:
Job opportunities with animal organizations:

Presentations from Recent Webinars

PetSmart Charities Webinar 2013
Grey Muzzle Foundation Webinar 2013
Pet Sitters International Webinar 2013

Recommended Resources and Websites for Animal Rescue and Shelter Organizations

Lifetime Care for Pets" PowerPoint Presentation, International ACES Conference, September 2012 (PDF)
Organizations to apply to for Financial Assistance for Animals (PDF)
Pet Transport Resources (PDF)
"Best practices" guide for rescue & shelter groups:
No Kill Advocacy Center:
National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals:
PetSmart Charities:
PetSmart Charities free recorded webinars:
Avian Lifetime Care (PDF-reprinted by permission)
End of Life Care for Pets (PDF-reprinted by permission)
Lifetime Care for Pets PowerPoint Presentation Template (November 2011)
Lifetime Care for Pets PetSmart Charities Presentation PDF (November 2011)

Archives 2004-2013 Information

Archives Information Fall 2012 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter outlines the critical steps to pet lifetime care planning.

Archives Information Fall 2011 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter covers disaster planning and includes a pet emergency kit checklist.

Archives Information Fall 2010 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter outlines the basic steps for lifetime care planning and provides website resources for pet owners.

Archives 2006 Information Spring 2006 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter covers pet transportation, animal sanctuaries and benefits of spay/neuter

Archives 2005 Information Winter 2005 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter covers health benefits provided by our animal companions and emergency prepardeness for you and your pets.

Archives 2005 Information Fall 2005 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter covers pet trust laws, veterinary schools’ perpetual care programs, an animal hospice center, pet identification and more.

Archives 2005 Information: Summer 2005 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter covers pet trust basics, animal care panels and more information about lifetime care options for your pets.

Archives 2004 Information: Winter 2004 Newsletter (PDF)
This newsletter covers the components of a lifetime care plan for your pets, pet insurance and various planning options for the future care of your pets.

Archives: Select Articles from The Companion newsletters
The list below are links to several of the most requested articles that we have featured in our newsletter, The Companion.  If you would like to reprint any article, please send a request to info@2ndchance4pets.org.

About 2nd Chance 4 Pets (2004)(PDF)
Why adopt from shelters? The Truth behind Puppy Mills (2005)
(PDF) Furburbia: A New Alternative to Pet stores Selling Pets (2005)(PDF)
Pet Trusts Basics – Q&A with Professor Gerry W. Beyer (2005)
The Gabriel Foundation- Sanctuary for Homeless Birds (2005)(PDF)
Hope for Large Birds: PETCO’s New Policies   (2005)(PDF)
Will Your Pet Always Have a Home? Read This! (2005)(PDF)
Components of a Lifetime Care Plan (2005)(PDF)
Pet Insurance, Peace of Mind (2005)(PDF)
Health Benefits Provided by Our Animal Companions (2005)(PDF)
Dogs Deserve Better, Putting an End to Dog Chaining (2005)
Is an Animal Care Panel the Right Solution for Your Pets?(2006)(PDF)
How to Fund a Pet Trust by Gerry Buyer, Professor of Law(2006)(PDF)
Lucky Parrot Sanctuary (PDF)

Best Friends Animal Society: Finding Homes for Homeless Pets (PDF)

Perpetual Care Programs for Birds (November 2006)(PDF)

The "Animal Care Panel": A legal arrangement allowing you to keep your pets cared for all together and in your home

Home Sweet Home, Forever

"After I die-and that could happen tomorrow or 20 years from now-I want my animals cared for all together and in my home. Is it possible?"

This was the question posed by a client of attorneys Hoyt & Brian, LLC in Oviedo, Florida. The pet owner was a single woman in her late 50s. She had no children (aside from five dogs and 10 cats), and she owned her house.

As it turned out, the answer was "yes." Peggy Hoyt, an advisory board member for 2nd Chance 4 Pets, a principal in the law firm and a pet lover herself, worked closely with the client to create the necessary legal documents and draft careful instructions for the as-yet-unnamed caregiver. Together, they assembled an "animal care panel" consisting of the pet owner's veterinarian and a few close friends. This panel would be responsible for interviewing and selecting the live-in caregiver, once the need arose.

Responsible pet owners across the country are eager for information on how best to ensure quality care for their companion animals, when they die or become disabled. 2nd Chance 4 Pets asked Peggy Hoyt to provide additional details on the special arrangement she crafted for her client.

Q: How is a live-in caregiver selected?

A: The animal care panel identifies candidates through advertising in the newspaper, word of mouth, veterinarian recommendations or other means. The panel interviews candidates and selects a person to live in the home and care for the client's pets. If the caregiver does not work out, the panel will remove that person and hire someone else.

Q: What safeguards are in place to ensure quality of care?

A: The legal document requires periodic reporting. Additionally, the animal care panel has the right to inspect the home to ensure that the animals are properly cared for.

Q: Does the mortgage on the home have to be fully paid off for this plan to work?

A: The home does not need to be paid off, but there needs to be sufficient resources available when the pet owner dies to continue the mortgage installments or pay off the balance. A few considerations to discuss with your attorney when making these arrangements: (1) The pet owner should consider whether the live-in caregiver is paid (the value of rent is less than the value of the care services) or pays (the value of rent is greater than the value of the care services). (2) Are expenses relating to the animal the responsibility of the caregiver?

Q: What else should people consider in setting up a plan like this?

A: In addition to the animal care panel, they may wish to separate the functions of animal care from asset care, by designating a trustee who is different from the people who oversee the care of the pets or actually care for the pets. Separating these functions helps avoid any potential conflict of interest.

Q: Does the trust maker need to leave money to cover the trustee's costs, as well?

A: Yes. If people don't have independent resources, the best way for them to create that wealth is through the purchase of a life insurance policy that names the trust as the primary beneficiary.

Q: How often should the estate plan be reviewed?

A: Any estate plan, especially one that is designed to provide for pets, should be revisited on a regular basis (annually is a good idea). On average, people in this country update their estate plans every 19.6 years, but a person's whole composition of pets will almost certainly change in that time period.

Q: How may people get more information on this method for ensuring lifetime care for companion animals?

A: Because laws differ from state to state, we recommend that pet owners discuss pet trusts-and the processes involved in setting up an animal care panel-with a locally licensed attorney. This is essential to ensure that the plan is legal in their state, and that it includes necessary safeguards for trustees, beneficiaries, and caregivers. Pet owners can locate an attorney in their area by visiting www.nnepa.com.

Q: What other safeguards do you recommend?

A: Another technique that we use in our planning is a concept known as "trust protector." This is an independent third party (often the attorney who drafted the trust) who has special fiduciary power. For example, the trust protector may remove a bad trustee or change the withdrawal rates of beneficiaries. This person may also amend the trust after the trust maker has passed away, in case the law or certain circumstances change.

Q: Do you have a final recommendation for pet owners?

A: Keep your estate plan maintained and updated. There are four things that can change with regard to your estate plan: (1) your life, including your personal and financial circumstances; (2) the law; (3) your lawyer's experience; and (4) your legacy, in terms of how you want to leave your assets. By reviewing your estate plan frequently, you can be sure that your wishes will be carried out, and your companion animals will receive the quality of lifetime care that you want them to have.

To contact the law offices of Hoyt & Brian, please call (407)977-8080, write to Peggy Hoyt at peggy@hoytbryan.com or visit the website www.hoytbryan.com.

Note from the editor: we included this information in response to the numerous contacts we received from pet owners who care for "multiple" pets in their homes. These pet owners were looking for a lifetime care solution which would allow them to keep their pets together and allow for the pets to continue to be cared for in their home should the pet owner die or become too ill to care for them.

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