For Responsible Animal Guardian Month, In Defense of Animals is working to encourage people to plan for their animals and include them in their will.

As guardians of our pets, it’s important to think about your pet’s future just as you would think about your own. For Responsible Animal Guardian Month, IDA is encouraging people to take steps towards responsible guardianship of companion animals and protecting their animals in their legacy.

Our pets are a part of our family. However, in the eyes of the current law, our pets are considered our property, which is something In Defense of Animals (IDA) is currently trying to change. Because pets are considered property, you can’t use your will to leave them an inheritance. You can still provide your pets with care when you create your will by naming a “pet guardian” or someone that will take your animal if you pass.

“We encourage people to learn more about responsible guardianship this month, use guardian language, and take 20 minutes to write a FreeWill that protects your own animals and leaves a legacy for those who need help in the future,” said Fleur Dawes, Communications Director for In Defense of Animals.

Responsible Animal Guardian Month was created by the organization’s late founder Dr. Elliot Katz and is a part of their Guardians campaign. The campaign aims to change the way that we think and speak about animals. IDA wants people to realize that animals are not here for us to exploit, and they are not our property. We are not animal owners, but instead, we are their guardians, and we are responsible for taking care of them and planning for their future.

According to FreeWill, here are the things you should do to provide for your pets in your will.

  1. Include a pet clause in your last will and testament
  2. Choose a pet guardian
  3. Leave money to pets in a will
  4. Leave instructions for your pet guardian
  5. Set up a pet trust

To put your pet in your will, check out Nolo’s guide on estate planning for pets, or Cesar’s Way guide to animals in wills. Also check out IDA’s 10 Ways to Celebrate Guardian Month This May!

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