CONSUMER AFFAIRS: Death of a flamingo

2014-04-05T09:38:00Z CONSUMER AFFAIRS: Death of a flamingoChristopher W. Yugo Times Business Columnist
April 05, 2014 9:38 am  • 

 While surfing the web I found an article about a flamingo that recently passed away.

Normally, finding an article about a flamingo wouldn't even get my finger to slow down on the mouse. However, the headline was "World's oldest flamingo dies in Australian zoo." You can't tell me that the world's oldest flamingo has died and not expect me to stop and read.

It appears that a flamingo named Greater passed away at the Adelaide Zoo. Greater arrived at the zoo in 1933 and was believed to be 83 years old. Greater was survived by longtime friend Chilly in case you want to send flowers or a card or something.

Now I don't know about you, but I had no idea that flamingos could live into their 80s. I admit I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about flamingos, but that seemed like a really long time.

On the other hand, I have come across birds in my estate planningm and some of them were expected to live for decades beyond the life expectancy of their owners. In those cases, it was obvious the birds needed to be planned for.

For most of us, planning for a pet may not be at or near the top of our list of goals. Maybe your family doesn't have a lot of luck with pets. I know my family has gone through a pet store full of goldfish and hamsters.

On the other hand, I have had pets that have become loved members of the family. A few years ago, we lost our 13-year-old keeshond. My wife and I had a good long cry over losing Bailey. He was part of the family and it took more than two years before my kids could convince me to get a new dog.

In fact, we had Bailey for so long and he had become such an important member of the family, he made it into out estate plan. Our trust contained a provision instructing what was to become of Bailey should we pass before him, and we put a lot of thought into where he should go. Not as much as we did for the kids, but still a lot of thought.

If all you have are hamsters and goldfish, planning for a pet probably isn't a big deal. However, if you have a pet that is truly a member of the family, I think it is important to think about what will happen to them when you pass away.

I'm not suggesting leaving Cuddles a pile of money, but you should think about where he would go. Remember, not everyone is a pet person, and inheriting a cat, dog or bird maybe too much for them to handle. Rescues are full of animals that people just can't care for, and I'm sure that you wouldn't want your furry or feathery friend to join them.

So give it some thought and remember to include your little buddy the next time you review your estate plan.

Opinions are solely the writer's. Christopher W. Yugo is a Crown Point attorney. Address questions to Yugo in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN, 46321 or to Yugo's information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant or estate-planning specialist.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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