If you know me you know I am obsessed with my four-legged friends, Kaiya, a 4-year-old rare sled dog who has a nose for days, and Tucker, a 1-year-old golden retriever who has more energy than the energizer bunny. I am not alone in this obsession. According to the ASPCA, “it’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States.” And not only that but “in 2013, Americans spent a record $55.7 billion, on puppy chow, cat litter, grooming, toys, vet visits, and all other matter of indulgences” (taken from the American Pet Products Association). As you can see from these stats, there is a good chance your client/prospective client has a pet and there is an even better chance they care a lot about them.
So, while you are uncovering your clients/prospective client’s needs and asking the right questions to get them to vocalize what’s important to them, are you making sure their beloved pets are looked after? Many might not be thinking about what happens if they become incapacitated or pass away – who would care for their pet? Would friends and family know what medications and food to give them? Or worse, will their pet become a statistic? According to the animal welfare organization “2nd Chance 4 Pets,” over 500,000 pets are abandoned each year due to the death or disability of their human companions. Not to mention, larger animals like horses are pretty pricey to care for, so making sure they have a plan set up like a Pet Trust is something they’ll definitely want to consider.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to network with organizations in your local community that make pets their top priority like a vet or animal hospital. We don’t recommend you spend a lot of money marketing to this niche, but networking is definitely a worthwhile option. Plus, if someone comes in to plan for their pet, they are even more likely to create a plan for the humans in their life!
This is only a small part of estate planning; the most important part is that as an estate planning attorney you are helping families create a plan that covers every little thing in their life – from their dog to their stepson and grandchildren – so they can rest in peace with a smile knowing they have left no stone unturned with the help and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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