Include your pets in your Durable Power of Attorney
Amend or redraft your Durable Power of Attorney to include a provision that allows your agent to make care decisions for your pets if you are unable to do so in the event of an unexpected disability. These decisions should include daily care such as boarding, grooming and medical care.
Create an Authorization for Veterinary Care
If you travel, having an Authorization for Veterinary Care naming your pet caregiver is your best defense in the event of an emergency involving your pet. This Authorization should specifically name the pet caregiver and the limits of their authorization.
Have an Emergency Plan in the event of a Natural Disaster
Create a plan that provides for natural disasters. Where would you and your pet go? What would happen to your pet if you were separated? How is your pet identified so it can be returned to you quickly? Large animals, like horses, may pose additional concerns. Your plan should include research about boarding or other facilities that are pet friendly.
Draft a Pet Trust
As part of your estate planning, consider a Pet Trust for the lifetime care of your pets. Pet Trusts are now valid in many states. Your Pet Trust should include the selection of a pet caregiver, trustee, and animal care panel, plus alternates. Your instructions should be specific and comprehensive. Consider carefully the resources necessary to provide for your pets and to reimburse caregivers, trustees and animal care panel members for their services. A Pet Trust can be a stand alone trust or a testamentary trust created in a Last Will or Living Trust.
Maintain a Pet Notebook
Create a Pet Notebook with "baby sitter" instructions for each of your pets. These instructions should include pictures, veterinary history, likes/dislikes, play and care requirements, just to name a few.
Additional resources provided by the author
All My Children Wear Fur Coats - How to Leave a Legacy for Your Pet, Second Edition