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Study Shows More Pets Making Their Way Into Wills

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – To some people, naming a pet in a last will and testament may sound a bit strange.

According to a new study by the American Pet Products Association, nine percent of Americans have made provisions for their pets in their wills and the number continues to grow.

Clinton Township Attorney and Estate Planning Specialist Terry Giampetroni monitors these statistics locally for those planning a will, and says that the findings are not a surprise.

“One of the questions we ask on our questionnaire that we send in advance, is there a pet that you want to a make a provision for,” Giampetroni told WWJ’s Marie Osborne.

Although it’s rare, she says that some people do want to make provisions for animal care in their will.

“It’s usually people that don’t have children,” Giampetroni said. “Their pets have taken on such a prominent role in their life, they think of them as children.”

Even though some people balk at the idea of naming a pet in the will, Giampetroni said there is a good reason.

“Sometimes I get the call from a family who is coming in from out of state because auntie died or parents passed and they weren’t prepared to adopt a pet,” Giampetroni said.

Even though it’s not normal to some to give pets the family treatment, the attorney explains to people that times have changed.

“When we were a rural society, no one cared about the barn cat or the dog that lived out in the yard,” she said. “They didn’t have fleece beds inside, they didn’t have heated water bowls.”

So in cases when it does become an issue and planning out a will is taking place, Giampetroni also focuses on the well being of the animal and covers all bases.

“Is there going to be a monetary arrangement,” Giampetroni said. “Is there a certain vet that you would want your pet to continue being treated with.”

Giampetroni also points out that if you don’t make plans for your pet in the will,it’s possible they could end up in a shelter.

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