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As a pet, you naturally want the best for your fur babies. A pet power of attorney is one step in achieving this.
Maybe you take them to the nicer animal salon, cook their meals (there is no canned food here!) Or take them with you on trips. Yes, you do count your pet as a family member, but in most cases they are treated as property by law. This means that the law does not provide details on how to authorize care if for some reason you are unable to look after your pet.
Sure, you may even have spoken about it to trusted friends and family members. However, these informal arrangements do not necessarily provide adequate protection in emergency situations. Creating a Power of Attorney for Pets will ensure that your pet is treated with love and care, especially when you cannot.
What exactly is a pet power of attorney?
A Power of Attorney for Pets is a Power of Attorney (POA) designed specifically for pets. Sometimes referred to as a power of attorney, a power of attorney is a written document that legally authorizes a specific person to act on behalf of another person. If so, this document authorizes someone to act on your behalf in relation to your pet.
When you create a pet authorization, the document states that you are the principal or benefactor – also known as the person authorizing another person to act on their behalf. The authorized person is also referred to as the actual lawyer or agent. And while you’re at it, make sure that your own business is in order with a will of your own.
The main idea behind a pet authorization is to formalize the agreement with someone else. This person has a legal obligation after signing the document to ensure that your requirements are met as far as possible.
For example, you want to make sure that your dog Fluffy can maintain his lifestyle. You create a pet authorization so that your aunt (the agent) will grant you a wish when you are too sick to take care of Fluffy. Your wish might be to keep buying the same brand of dog food and approve all medical procedures to ensure Rover can still run around his favorite park.
Why do I have to put my wishes in writing?
There is nothing wrong with trusting that your favorite aunt or best friend knows what to do when it comes to Fluffy. You sure know what to do in an emergency, right?
We do not question whether this person is trustworthy. It’s more about clearing up any confusion or misunderstanding that may arise with your desires. Creating a pet authorization will make it clear what you want Fluffy to take care of.
Let’s say you are disabled and Fluffy is in a car accident. Your dog will need to be taken to the vet for emergency surgery, costing a few thousand dollars. Your aunt is already upset and doesn’t know what to do, even though you told her years ago that money doesn’t matter to Fluffy.
This is where this pet’s power of attorney can alleviate this stress: your aunt no longer has the burden of making the decision. Instead, she’ll show the veterinarian the pet warrant outlining your exact needs, and Fluffy will have an operation.
The bottom line is to make sure your wants are granted, your pet is safe and that other people are less stressed to make sure they made the right decision.
What are the different types of pet powers of attorney?
The type of pet power of attorney you want to create depends on your situation and how long you want this agreement to last.
Non-permanent (limited) power of attorney
This type of POA is provided in case you want to designate someone to make temporary decisions about your pet. They can also set specific tasks in the document to which they are authorized, which prevents them from making all decisions.
Limited permanent power of attorney for pets can only be enforced while they are alive and take care of themselves. If you die or become disabled, you need to make sure you have a more permanent solution.
A non-permanent power of attorney can be used in cases where you are traveling for business or pleasure and you leave your pet with someone else. You can create the document so that it “expires” on your return from travel, limiting that person to getting your permission first before approving payment for a medical procedure.
Permanent power of attorney
A permanent power of attorney is a more permanent agreement that has no expiration date. You can have it take effect immediately and even choose to have this person look after your pet even after you are dead or incapacitated for work. Different regulations may apply in some states. So it is best to check your state guidelines by contacting your local bar association.
This means that it will still be valid unless you change it in writing. Once you have named the representative for your pet’s power of attorney, it will remain in effect. You can revoke this document at any time. While you can designate anyone to act as an agent, you cannot designate someone to be involved in your pet’s health care, such as pet health care providers. B. a veterinarian.
The person you nominate to represent is responsible for making your wishes come true, including making financial decisions. As in, the agent has full authority to make decisions on your behalf, including deciding not to perform a medical procedure if necessary.
If you designate someone else to watch your pet, the agent will also be responsible for ensuring that it is brought to him safely.
Yes, you read that right. The person watching your pet doesn’t have to be the same person making the financial and health decisions. Of course, you can name a person for both responsibilities.
How do I create a pet authorization?
Once you’ve figured out what type of pet authority you want, it’s time to figure out what power of attorney you want to give your agent and keep it to yourself. Do you want to make the final financial decisions or leave it to the person you choose?
Whatever you decide, make sure you include plenty of details so that everyone involved understands the agreement.
You have a choice of hiring an attorney to design one for you or creating your own. If you take the DIY route there are plenty of free templates online or inexpensive options from websites like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.
Since different states can have different requirements, it is best to check with a reputable source. Or at least get an attorney to look at your draft to make sure your bases are covered.
Once created, you will need to sign it and, in many cases, notarize it in front of two witnesses. Then give a copy to the agent (s) and your vet.
Establishing a power of attorney for pets may feel like a tedious task, but it’s well worth it. Having the security that comes with knowing that Fluffy is being cared for is invaluable.
Staff Sarah Li-Cain is a Jacksonville, Florida-based personal finance writer specializing in real estate, insurance, banking, credit, and credit. She is the host of the podcasts Buzzsprout and Beyond the Dollar.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers across the country to make smart decisions with their money by providing actionable and inspiring advice and resources on making money, saving and managing money.