I plan to update my will sometime within the next few weeks, and I would like to provide protection for my cats. A friend has agreed to care for my cats if anything were to happen to me - in fact, she asked to be named as their guardian. That is a great comfort to me because she is wonderful with cats and has a great deal of experience. She is also adamantly opposed to declawing, and that is very important to me. My concern is: I want to provide a "backup" in case this plan could not be fulfilled (just as one does with children).

I am in good health and hope this won't be needed for many years, so I am trying to plan ahead for various possibilities. I originally planned to name my sister as guardian to my pets (and could still name her as secondary to my friend), but I now realize that is not a good idea because my sister has had all of her cats declawed. After several years of talking to her about it, it is obvious to me that she still thinks that is the "normal" way to live with indoor cats, so I want to come up with some plan whereby my cats would be protected against any possibility of declawing.

One of her declawed cats now sprays regularly all around the house, so the whole atmosphere would not be what I want for my cats.
Here is one of my questions to go along with all of this: I am going to provide a fairly substantial amount of money from my retirement plan to provide for the care of my furbabies. If I live a normal life span, that means that the cats involved would not be the ones I have now; so I know that my will should provide for any* pets under my care at the time of my death. However, is there any reasonable way to attach conditions (such as *no declaw) to the money I will provide, to create some assurance that the cats would never be declawed? As I said, I'm not concerned about the person who will be named in my will as "first" guardian, but I do have major concerns about what to do after that.

I will obviously have a lengthy discussion with my attorney, but I hope some of you may have some ideas for me to take with me when I carry through with this plan. It will probably be several weeks (or even a few months) before I do this, so I have time to do some research if anyone wants to suggest some specific sites.

Thanks for your help! Incidentally, I live in Texas, and the will would be drawn under Texas law.

MaryL
(take out the litter to reply)
Photos of Holly and Duffy:
(introducing Duffy to Holly) (Duffy and Holly "settle in")
1 2
I'm not familiar with Texas probate law, but would imagine it would be similar state to state. You could have your attorney insert a pet codicil and put in the condition regarding declawing, as a general condition, and also specific to your sister, should she become guardian should your friend not be able to act. However, as to the no-declaw being enforced, I would imagine that even if your sister does declaw the cat, since cats are considered property, not much can be done once she declaws the cat. If it were my cats, I would be looking for a different secondary guardian.
I believe I have an example pet codicil at work and could check it for you, but I won't be back to work till Jan. 5th.
Lauren

See my cats: http://community.webshots.com/album/56955940rWhxAe Raw Diet Info: http://www.holisticat.com/drjletter.html http://www.geocities.com/rawfeeders/ForCatsOnly.html Declawing Info: http://www.wholecat.com/articles/claws.htm
Ask a lawyer!
I'm not familiar with Texas probate law, but would imagine it would besimilar state to state. You could have your ... pet codicil at work and could check it foryou, but I won't be back to work till Jan. 5th. Lauren

Thanks, Lauren. I would appreciate any information about the pet codicil that you can locate. I'm not in a hurry, but I do want to do this *right.*

MaryL
Ask a lawyer!

I certainly will do that. I already have a will and will use the same attorney to draft a new will (or add a codicil to it). At this point, I'm just looking for suggestions of what questions I should ask because I think this issue may be one that many attorneys do not emphasize.

MaryL
I plan to update my will sometime within the next few weeks, and I would like to provide protection for my cats.

Here is a link to one pet codicil. Perhaps you could adapt language to fit your conditions.
http://www.whippetview.com/codicil.html
There are a number of books on the topic. This one looks interesting, but I haven't read it.
http://www.perpetualcarebook.com/products/pcbook.htm

BarB
i know that The Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey (and others, I'm sure) has materials for those who want to do what you're doing.
Here is one of my questions to go along with all of this: I am going to provide a fairly substantial amount of money from my retirement plan to provide for the care of my furbabies.

I would, number one, leave your sister $1 in the will. If she is mentioned, she can never contest it. Two, name Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as your back up choice in case your friend is dead or unable to take your cats. They do a lot of wills for people with animals. I bet they have these documents available to people considering this option. They take care of their animals for the rest of the animals lives. People generally leave them some money to do this. I think it's a great idea because volunteers come and love the cats to death. They are well cared for. They even take FIV and FLV cats.
I plan to update my will sometime within the next few weeks, and I would like to provide protection for ... as no declaw) to the money I will provide, to create some assurance that the cats would never be declawed?

The only way to do this is to name as their guardian someone whom you KNOW will not declaw them.
As I said, I'm not concerned about the person who will be named in my will as "first" guardian, but ... specific sites. Thanks for your help! Incidentally, I live in Texas, and the will would be drawn under Texas law.

You might want to talk to a shelter or rehabber in your area. They might be willing to be named as your back-up in case the first guardian falls through.
Good luck,
-L.
Show more