August signals the end of summer and the start of another school year—but it’s also National Make-a-Will Month! Many people put off making their wills, but PETA offers several free online resources that can help make this critical step easier as you plan your legacy.
Complimentary Planning Publications
Estate planning is a vital way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Finalizing your estate plans can give you peace of mind and confidence that those who matter most to you are protected and that your wishes for a lasting legacy will be fulfilled.
To help you create your legacy, we’ve compiled a library of complimentary publications with useful worksheets and checklists to help you map out your personal and financial goals and ensure that all of your loved ones—including your animal companions—are cared for.
At PETA.org/Resources, you can access these and other free publications:
- Getting Started is a simple guide to will- and trust-planning essentials to help you determine your options and map out your goals.
- Getting Organized is a user-friendly workbook with forms and checklists that walk you through a variety of considerations when planning, and it helps you gather all the necessary information.
- Planning for Your Animal Companion’s Future and Your Peace of Mind contains essential information for ensuring that your companion’s needs are lovingly met.
- Easy Ways to Create Your Legacy explores ways you can make protecting animals part of your life story, now and in the future.
Companion Animal Planning
One of the most overlooked—yet most important!—aspects of estate planning is preparing for your animal companions’ futures when you can no longer care for them. Our animal companions are an integral part of our lives, and we know that they depend on us completely. It’s crucial to incorporate important steps into your estate planning in order to ensure the long-term well-being of your animals and make their transition to a life without you as stress-free as possible.
PETA’s Companion Animal Planning Packet will guide you through this process. The packet includes a detailed, 12-page booklet addressing short-term and long-term care needs, emergency contact cards and a window decal, and instruction forms for emergency caregivers, family, and friends.
The following are some of the most important planning steps, which are elaborated on in our packet:
- Short-term care: Have an emergency plan. Identify one or more trusted people who can come into your home at a moment’s notice to care for and comfort your animals until their long-term care has been arranged. It’s important for the person to be familiar with your animals and vice versa.
- Long-term permanent care: Find guardians you trust. Select a long-term guardian or guardians for your animals now. Choose someone who is trustworthy, capable, and willing to take complete responsibility for your animals. It’s a good idea to name one or more backup guardians, if possible.
- Vital information: Files on each of your animals should be maintained and kept in your home. These will be helpful in case of an emergency and can be used to find the best new homes for your animals. (Our planning packet contains forms for all this information.)
- Formalize your plans: Consult with your attorney to complete your estate plans, including providing for the future of your animal companions (e.g., through a provision in your will or a “pet trust,” which is now allowed in most U.S. states).
- Prepare for emergencies: Put a “Please save our animals” sticker in a location that’s visible from outside your house, such as a window or a door, in case of an emergency. (This sticker is also included in our planning packet.)
Create Your Will Online for Free
The compassion and vision of PETA supporters like you—who share our determination to give animals a brighter and kinder future—hasn’t changed throughout our four decades of advancing the animal rights movement. That’s why we’re thrilled to offer you a resource that will help protect not only your future but also the future of those you love and care about: a free online tool for creating your legal will! We’ve partnered with FreeWill to make the tool available to all PETA supporters.
Here’s how it works. You can use the tool either to generate the necessary information so that an attorney can complete your will or—if appropriate for your situation—to produce a legal document that’s ready for you to print and execute as your actual will. As part of the process, you’ll have the option to perpetuate your legacy for animals with a gift to PETA in your estate plans, which will support our lifesaving work for generations to come.
In addition to our free resources, our legacy gift planning team is here to help and would be delighted to assist you with creating your long-term plans and extending your compassion for animals into the future. Reach out to us today!
Our 30-Day Legacy Challenge is also taking place during National Make-a-Will Month. If we meet our goal of reaching 30 new bequests during the 30 days of August, a generous PETA member has pledged to donate $30,000 to support our doghouse program. Please complete the form here to notify us of your participation in the 30-Day Legacy Challenge. Your bequest commitment will help animals today by unlocking funds that will bring life-changing relief to dogs struggling to survive the summer heat.
Have you already made the kind decision to include PETA as a beneficiary of your estate plans? Please let us know so that we can thank you for your generous commitment and welcome you into our Augustus Club! We’d be honored to have you join the ranks of special supporters like you, who have already made a legacy gift to us through their will, their trust, or by beneficiary designation.