If you become incapacitated or die, what will happen to your pets?
Most pets are dependent on humans for food and shelter, and are unable to look after themselves. It is cruel and illegal to release your pet into the wild to fend for itself, and there may be environmental concerns even if it could survive. As a loving and responsible pet-owner you should include the future well-being of your surviving pets in your plan.
Genders & Partners is the oldest law firm in South Australia, and we have the knowledge, experience and sensitivity to ensure that the right provisions are made for the ongoing care of your pets if you should outlive them or lose the ability to care for them.
If you die or get carried off to hospital suddenly, your pet might be enclosed in a yard, a cage or inside the house. Your family has enough to deal with getting to grips with your illness or death, let alone worrying about a house full of pets. Will they even remember that you have a pet? Probably not for several days, if at all. We suggest setting up a South Australian Pet Trust, as this is a legal document which covers the ongoing care of domestic animals in specific circumstances, such as in the event of your death or incapacity. It names new caregivers or requests that trustees search for new homes for your pets. A trustee is then legally authorised to carry out your wishes from the day of your death or incapacity. A Pet Trust in South Australia differs from a Will, which may take weeks or months to come into effect, as it may require a Court process known as Probate.
Granny napping is defined as the legal movement of an elderly person from one residential location to another, and could include the removal of an elderly person from a nursing home care facility.
The aim of this may be to remove the elderly person from contact with other people such as family & friends, in order to isolate them and to facilitate financial abuse. The prevalence of granny napping is expected to rise as affluent baby boomers age.
There has been a steady increase of “Elder Abuse”, and a decline in the treatment of vulnerable people in our society. This leaves the assets of the elderly person open to abuse. There have been instances where elderly people have been left to starve as disagreeable, uncaring relatives demand food and money from their elderly relatives.
Houses of elderly relatives have even been sold and the relative has been forced to move out. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to granny napping and elderly abuse not just here in South Australia, but throughout the rest of Australia, too.
One of the inherent problems in Australian society is the lack of effective communication between siblings and between siblings and elderly parents. Bitter relationships have sometimes developed between these individuals. Elderly people who have not yet succumbed to dementia or other debilitating diseases have even gone so far as making out Wills that only name grandchildren as beneficiaries, in an attempt to bypass their problematic & meddling children. However this only tends to add even more fuel to the fire when it comes to resolving inheritance issues and often leads to litigation, which in some cases have involved grandchildren having to give back money to their own parents.
A 2013 report from Alzheimer’s Disease International warns that the number of older people needing care globally is set to nearly treble by 2050 from 101 million currently to 277 million.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia or senility. Symptoms include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communicating and reasoning.
The report reveals that as the world population ages, the traditional system of informal care by family, friends and the community will need much greater support.
This means that increasing numbers of people aged 60 or over will require long-term care. This will put huge pressure on families, both emotionally and financially. Carers often have to give up work to look after elderly relatives.
This epidemic of dementia will have specific legal consequences for patients and the people caring for them. In particular, their loss of mental capacity to make decisions in their own best interests, creates a need to put in place an appropriate system of delegated authority.
Senior lawyer specialising in estate planning and Wills in Adelaide.
Rod Genders from Genders and Partners, the oldest law firm in South Australia, says that state law does not permit animals to be direct beneficiaries of a Will, as the law regards the animals themselves as property.
However, caring pet owners can leave money for their pets in pet trusts with provisions for how it is to be spent on the pet.
As our population ages and fewer couples have children, there has been an attitude shift where many people have come to view their animals less as pets and more as members of the family.