pgivingblastPlanning is not always a popular activity for most of us. Last year, Marin Humane Society (MHS) embarked on a formal strategic planning process, and though we are excited about the outcome, I do remember some grumbling. Other times, natural disasters are vivid reminders of the need to be better prepared. Whether it is popular or not, if done right planning provides focus, clarity and peace of mind.

During the process, my husband and I were moving to Marin and I found myself thinking about our own strategic plan. Had we made adequate plans for our companion animals, finances and property should something happen to us? Did we need to update our Strategic Plan?

When it comes to making plans based on the “what-ifs” that arise if you are incapacitated or pass away, it is easy to become overwhelmed or intimidated. And yet, this planning can bring unimagined benefits – not only for us as individuals, but for our loved ones and our community as well.

In our case, my husband and I do not have human children. Given the possible consequences, we have plans in place to ensure our four-legged loved ones – including our recently adopted puppy Brody – are cared for. These plans minimize the stress that our companion animals might undergo if we do become incapacitated or pass away. They also provide peace of mind today that they will be cared for by someone we know and trust; someone who is also prepared and familiar with our animals’ personalities and health. Beyond the immediate needs of our animals, our plans also help our families and friends by organizing our estate so that it is handled according to our wishes. We also discovered that we need to update our plans in light of the 2013 changes in tax laws which may impact aspects of our plans – both for family and philanthropy.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can control your legacy, I invite you to join me at MHS on March 7 at 5:30 p.m. for an important seminar, Philanthropic Planning for Animal Lovers. I will be there to discuss how you can best plan for your animals in the event of your passing, and how you can make a lasting impact upon the welfare of animals in Marin. Our special guests, Rebecca Bibleheimer JD LLM, charitable Trust Officer and John Osborn, Personal Trust Officer for US Bank will be on hand to discuss the basics of estate planning as well as current issues that might impact you and your loved ones, including the extension of the IRA charitable rollover through 2013. Light appetizers and beverages and valuable written materials will also be available.

Here at MHS, our first goal with this seminar is to help our community plan for the well-being of their companion animals under any circumstances. We also hope to share some insights on how bequests and other planned giving tools have made – and continue to make – a significant impact in our ability to continue advocating for, protecting and enhancing the well-being of animals in our community. In a very significant way, they help MHS in our quest to make a better world for all animals.

I hope you can join us and, since seating is limited, I encourage you to sign up online; or you can RSVP to Kyndra Kennedy in our Development department at or 415.506.6231.

On behalf of the animals we serve now and those that will depend upon us in the future, thank you..