Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now

Having a pet is a privilege as well as a responsibility. Some believe that this responsibility is on par to caring for children, especially when they themselves do not have children of their own. In this sense their pet is truly their family and would like to see them taken care of after their death. There are several ways to make sure that your pet is provided for in your will after you pass on.

  • Leave money to a pet-loving friend or family member.
    • This is an informal way of asking a friend or relative to take care of your pet. The downside is that the gift may not be used how you would truly like and they cannot be sued because of it.
  • Create a pet trust.
    • All 50 states and Washington D.C. acknowledge trusts for pets. One person is set up as the trustee of the funds, one person as caregiver of the pet, and another with the right to take the trustee or caregiver to court if the guidelines in the trust are not being followed. This makes it so that the person(s) you trust with your pet can be sued.
  • Leave money to a pet rescue organization.
    • This can done if you'd like to benefit a charity or organization as well. Basically the rescue or charity would care for your pet for the life of the animal, and then can use the rest of the money for the organization itself.

See MJCAtlanta, What Happens to Your Pet When You Die–How to Plan for Them Now, Milwaukee Community Journal, June 5, 2018.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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