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For Immediate Release

Nina McCann
Director of Public Relations
Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP

Legal Tips for Pet Owners on National Pet Day:  Gifts That Last Forever

Uniondale, NY, April 11, 2017—Americans spent nearly $63 billion on their pets last year, but there may be no money better spent than protecting them in case of death, disability, or divorce of their pet parents.  In recognition of National Pet Day, the Veterinary Practice Group (VPG) of the law firm of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP offers the following tips for pet owners to prepare for life’s unexpected twists and turns.

  • Proof of Ownership:  Proof of ownership such as AKC registration, paperwork from the shelter at the time of adoption showing who adopted the pet, or a written acknowledgment of ownership are ways to establish legal ownership.

“The old saying that possession is nine tenths of the law may be true in many cases, but proof of ownership supersedes possession when it comes to pets,” said Mary Mongoi, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Veterinary Practice Group.

  • A Pet Trust:  If there are concerns over who would care for a pet in case of death or disability, owners should discuss it with the person or organization with whom they feel comfortable entrusting the care of their pet.  The agreement should be formalized by retaining counsel and establishing a Pet Trust, which may be contained within the last Will and Testament or in a separate lifetime trust.  The trust should contain provisions directing with whom the pet should reside and provide funds to the person or organization for the lifetime care of the pet.

“This document must be in writing to be binding and should be kept in a place where it is easily located by those who will handle your legal affairs upon your death or disability,” added Ms. Mongoi. 

  • Vaccination Record:  While your veterinarian will have these records on file, keeping a hard copy comes in handy when pet is boarded at a kennel or is checked into a pet-friendly hotel. 

  • Microchips:  A microchip implant gives the pet owner the best chance of being reunited with their pet when a lost pet is found.  With the assistance of a veterinarian or shelter equipped with a scanner that can activate the chip, the owner can be located through the database maintained by the chip company via the owner’s unique identification number. 

  • Pet Insurance:  Pet insurance takes the cost of medical care out of the equation and allows owners to avoid making medical decisions based on the ability to pay for care.  Most pet insurance policies reimburse up to 80 percent of costs after deductibles, and most also provide flexible payment plans.

“Employers are beginning to offer pet insurance as an employee benefit, making reduced premiums available if enough employees participate in the plan, at no cost to the employer,” said Daniel Dornfeld, Co-Chair of the VPG practice. 

About the Veterinary Practice Group (VPG) of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP
The Veterinary Practice Group (VPG) consists of a dedicated team of attorneys who can address the special needs of veterinarians in the sale and purchase of their practices, as well as their day-to-day contractual and management issues and compliance matters. The VPG provides the veterinary community with professional guidance across a broad spectrum of legal disciplines.

Founded in 1976, the Firm LLP is one of Long Island's most acclaimed and distinguished law firms. Headquartered in Uniondale, NY, the Firm is conveniently located for clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as those in New York City.

The Firm employs over 60 talented attorneys who provide counsel to a broad range of clients, including national, regional and local businesses, major real estate developers and organizations, banks, insurance companies, municipalities, educational institutions, contractors, architects/engineers and individuals.

*The Omni, 333 Earle Ovington Boulevard, Suite 1010, Uniondale, New York 11553*

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