We are pleased that you are considering the serious issues of making provisions for the long-term care of your feathered friends. This is a vitally important component of proper care for companion parrots. We have prepared this web page to provide you an overview of some of the various long-term care options you may wish to consider to provide for your parrot(s) when you are not longer physically able to do so.
May psitticids, or birds in the parrot family, can live up to 80-100 years. Are you worried that your parrots will outlive you and what will happen to them when you pass away? Unfortunately, this is a real concern. At The Gabriel Foundation® we often see situations where people have passed away or become disabled and are no longer able to care for their beloved birds.
This remainder of this page describes a variety of methods for ensuring that your parrot is cared for after you no longer can. If you are interested in more detailed information after reading this brochure please contact The Gabriel Foundation.
We applaud you for caring enough about your parrot to ensure that is well provided for during the remainder of its life!
Providing for Your Parrot in Your Will
Your first option is providing for the care of your parrot in your will. Although you cannot leave money directly to an animal you can leave a sum of money to a person with instructions that it be spent on the housing, food and veterinary care your parrot will need. For example, if the executor of your will is a friend or family member that would care well for your parrot, you might choose to leave the money to your executor if they decide to adopt your parrot, with instructions that the money is to be spent on your parrot.
Another option is to leave the parrot to a family member, along with enough money to care for the parrot and instructions on how the money is to be spent.
One more option is to leave your parrot to a reputable parrot sanctuary, such as The Gabriel Foundation, along with a bequest sufficient to cover the housing, food, and veterinary care of the parrot. When you are considering leaving your parrot and a financial contribution to a sanctuary or other bird organization, investigate that organization carefully to make sure that the standard of care are acceptable to you. Ask the organization how they are able to assure you that their fiduciary responsibilities to both the public and the birds will be fulfilled now, and in future years or even decades ahead. We urge you to visit the organization yourself, ask for references, request a video of the facility…anything that will help you ascertain that you are making the appropriate choice for your pet.
If you want your will instruction to be binding on the person to whom you leave the money, you may wish to make your bequest to an individual conditional on their providing for your parrot. For instance, you can leave a sum of money to an individual "on the condition that" the person agrees to provide a home, and all the necessary food and veterinary care for your bird. A will providing of this type would sate that the gift to this person would lapse and be distributed to your heirs if the person fails to care for your parrot n the manner you requested. Another suggestion is to appoint an heir or someone else to monitor the person taking care of the bird on a regular basis.
Make a video of how you care for your bird demonstrating how the cage is to be set up, the daily routine including feeding and interacting with the bird verbally and physically. Document your bird’s favorite foods, toys, games, and bits of conversation. Be certain to include your bird’s dislikes and fears as well. Keep copies of veterinary records accessible in case of emergency. The video and journal can then be made available to both the caretakers and the monitor to help them carry out your wishes.
Because it often takes time to sort out someone’s will be sure to provide for the short-term care of your parrot while your will goes through probate court. Your will can provide that the executor can use estate funds to care for the animals during the period before they go to their new home.
Creating a Trust for the Care of Your Parrot
In creating a trust for your parrot, you can name a trustee to use funds to care for your parrot, and can designate another person to insure that the funds are used properly. It is very important to choose a trustee carefully, to insure that the person will follow your wishes and is willing to serve as trustee. There are many types of trusts, including "inter vivos" trust (which means that you are alive when you create the trust), and a "testamentary" trust (which is created in your will and begins after your death).
A number of states now allow a person to create a trust fund specifically designated for the care of a pet, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina, and possible others. Some states may not allow trust funds for the care of a pet. There are many different rules and regulations about how to establish a valid trust, which vary from state to state.
Creating a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney delegates the power to conduct your affairs to a chosen representation. A power of attorney may be a broad "general" power (with power over all of your affairs) or a "special" power limited only to certain acts or certain property. Creating a power of attorney may assist in providing a method of caring for your parrot in the event of a disability that prevents you from making decisions regarding your parrot’s care. Be advised, however, that some states have substantial restrictions on the use of powers of attorney.
Consult with an attorney in your own state. Because the laws of wills, trusts and powers of attorney vary greatly from state to state, you should consult an attorney in your state about your specific state law.