We know you love your animals and want the best for them, especially in the case that they outlive you and need to be cared for after your passing. Peace Ridge Sanctuary’s Loving Legacy Program is a program which we’ve developed that operates as a separate, service oriented care program designated especially for guardians who have had the foresight to plan for the future of their animals should something happen to them. We have created this special program because many people have asked us specifically for this type of help with their estate planning. As a nonprofit shelter focusing on farmed animals and equines, our work is funded by donors who specifically want to support our efforts to rescue animals from cruelty and neglect cases - helping the most vulnerable animals in our society, effectively advocating for animals, and ultimately trying to change the environment for animals. Because of our pledge to our donors to use their money responsibly to best serve our mission, we cannot use donation money to care for animals as part of an estate plan. For us to consider taking in an animal in these types of situations, there has to be financial support provided. This is why we’ve created the Loving Legacy Program - to help those who want to make sure their animals cared for by dedicated people like us, while knowing that their legacy might also help not only their animals, but our organization.
OVERVIEW OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED
Peace Ridge is a high-quality, state-licensed animal shelter where love drives our mission of helping and saving animals. We specialize in caring for animals who have not had good fortune and most of our animal residents are also animals that typical animal shelters cannot or will not accept. We offer superior rehabilitation and long term care for our residents. Our Loving Legacy Program is set up as a special off-shoot of our service. We administrate with you the details of your specific set of needs, and you legally designate the funding needed for your animals to move into our facility, and to be accommodated professionally by our staff for the rest of their lives, should you pass before they do.
Please note, depending on your request, PRS may or may not be able to set up an agreement to take on responsibility of your animal(s). Advanced planning and further discussions need to be had with our executive director before finalizing an agreement together, but this document is meant to provide an overview of this special program.
WHAT PRS REQUIRES TO OFFER THIS PROGRAM TO YOU/YOUR ANIMALS
- The understanding that funding will be set aside in a legal trust or estate planning document, drafted by your lawyer, that ensures that upon your death Peace Ridge Sanctuary will be allocated funding to take care of your animals, as we have agreed together, with enough funding that the transfer of guardianship will allow for us to take care of your loved ones according to our high standards, and not cause financial burden or risk to our organization.
- The amount would be set for each animal and planned with our executive director prior to the agreement.
- The agreement that your legal wishes will be recorded with a lawyer which will include designating Peace Ridge Sanctuary as a trustee to those animals and beneficiary of the funding for their care for their potential lifetimes.
- The agreement that the funding set aside will not be revocable by others associated with your estate.
Here is an example of ME state law that we can use to build/base an agreement with you:
18-B M.R.S. § 408 - Year of Enactment: 2003
Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.
Please note, setting up a trust specific to this law isn’t the only way we can do something together to safeguard the future of your animals, but it can provide a good starting place. There are many people who wish to have their animals kept living at their property after their passing. In some instances, we may be able to offer this peace of mind to you, in exchange for your estate. This can be especially useful for those guardians who do not have benefactors otherwise, and wish to see their properties used for the benefit of their animals (and potentially other animals) long term. We can talk to you about the potential for this, and are happy to schedule a visit if you feel you’d like to consider this direction in your estate planning.
LOVING LEGACY PROGRAM DETAILS
Farmed animal and equine care and management is a highly specialized field. Managing an aging animal or one with health issues is something we take seriously - and as you know from taking care of your own animals, that can be costly.
CONSIDERING SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Overall Animal Health: We ask you to honestly reflect on the current and anticipated difficulty associated with caring for your unique animal due to chronic health conditions, special needs, etc. and to talk with us openly about this issues so we can best determine whether or not our standard cost estimations are appropriate or need to be adjusted.
Disease Management: Disease baselines also impact our ability to integrate your animal into our herds/groups. In both cases we would incur the need to provide separate housing on site, which needs consideration. It is very important to us to be able to ascertain disease status prior to making arrangements with you. Having a recent status for bloodborne disease is important. We can help you with this if you think our program could work for you.
Housing & Habitats: It is important for all parties involved to consider the fact that, upon transfer of guardianship, your animal(s) may not be able to acclimate to our resident populations or sub-group housing. For animals who have been alone or with specific family groups for a long time, acclimating to a new herd or pairing can be stressful, and even the most experienced handlers may not be able to support introductions in a way that is successful over time. Because we always have the well-being of the animals at heart, we may need to provide for separate housing at our facility. That could mean building a new structure and fence line.
A NOTE ABOUT ESTIMATED COSTS
We would like to say that although it can feel unsavory to speak about dollar amounts when figuring out the framework for transfer of guardianship, it is important - we are committed to providing the best possible level of care for the animals in our care, which we hope can be the focal point of this collaborative effort. Please note: For people interested in estate planning/transfer, financial amounts may differ, depending on arrangements negotiated.
Some general notes on our costs:
- Program costs reflect our estimated baseline costs for the yearly cost of providing individualized medical care including vaccinations and routine blood/fecal testing, high-quality feed, staff care and barn cleaning, and standard species-specific care by veterinarian, farrier, etc.
- Program costs were set to provide a bit of a cumulative buffer over time in the case that an animal needs specialized veterinary, surgical care and/or a trip to a veterinary hospital for more involved care.
- Costs are adjusted each calendar year using a 3.5% annual inflation rate to cover the increased costs associated with feeding, veterinary care, staff funding, and other costs associated with caring for your animal(s).
For more information on our LOVING LEGACY PROGRAM, to discuss the unique needs of your individual animal(s), our animal care practices and euthanasia policy, or our current baseline costs broken down for each calendar year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org