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  • Writer's pictureRana M Waleed

What Happens to Fido if his Owner Dies without a Plan?

When a dog's owner passes away without a clear plan for the pet's care, several potential outcomes might occur:


Relocation to a Shelter or Rescue

If no family members or friends step forward to care for the dog, or if there are no provisions made for the pet's future, the dog might end up in a local animal shelter or rescue organization.  Without a clear plan or immediate adoption, the dog might remain in a shelter for an extended period, which can be stressful for the animal.



Family or Friends Take Custody

Sometimes, family members or friends might step in to care for the dog, especially if there's a close relationship between the deceased and someone willing to take responsibility for the pet.


Legal Uncertainty and Disputes

In the absence of clear instructions or provisions for the dog's care, disagreements or legal disputes might arise among family members or interested parties regarding who should take custody of the pet.



Unfortunately, in some cases, if no one is willing or able to care for the dog, particularly if the dog has health issues or behavioral problems, the animal may be euthanized, especially if it ends up in a shelter with limited space and resources.


Continued Care by a Rescue Group

If the dog is taken to a rescue organization or shelter, some groups might attempt to rehome the pet or provide ongoing care until a suitable adopter is found.


Foster Care and Adoption

In some cases, temporary foster homes might be available until a permanent solution for the dog's care can be determined.  And in some fortunate instances, the dog maybe adopted and find its permanent new home. 


The Power of Planning

To prevent these uncertain or potentially distressing outcomes for a beloved pet, it's crucial for pet owners to include provisions for their care in their estate plans. Creating a clear plan for the pet's future with a designated caregiver provisions and financial allocations for their care ensures the dog's well-being even after the owner's passing. This plan could be included in a will or trust, or standalone pet trust.  Legacy Wealth Counsel is proud to work with New York City pet owners to protect their furry friends from uncertainty.

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