You are here: Home Emotional Well ... Pets 101 Providing For A ... How To Provide For The ...
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Providing For A Pet In Case You Die

How To Provide For The Care Of Your Pet

Next » « Previous


You can leave money to care for your pet in either your Will, in a Trust or in a Pet Protection Agreement..

A Will

Do not leave money or other assets to your pet in your Will. (It's not legal.) While you can mention any arrangements you've made for the care of your pet after your death, do not leave anything to your pet through your Will. It simply isn't legal. You can however "bequeath" your pet in your Will and can leave money or property to the individual who has agreed to care for your pet. You can leave money:

  • Through a life insurance policy, naming the person who will take care of your pet as beneficiary.
  • Through a bank account "Payable on death" to the person.
  • By establishing a trust for the care of your pet.

A Trust (sometimes referred to as a "Pet Trust")

A trust for the benefit of your pets Is like any trust. An easy-to-understand way to describe a trust is: you put money or other assets into a paper bag, hand the bag to someone, and write instructions on the bag telling the person what to do with the contents.

  • The trust document can describe specifically how you want your pet cared for.
  • You can have a trust tailor-made to your needs. Depending on the state in which you live, an alternative is to establish a statutory pet trust.
  • You can establish the trust while you are alive or in your Will.
  • If you establish a trust in your Will, be sure there are arrangemetns in place to take care of your pet until the Will takes effect - which can be a long time after death if your Will is contested or if your estate is complicated.
  • Name a beneficiary to receive the money that is left over after your pet dies.
  • To help avoid challenges, only leave an amount that is reasonable to take care of the pet. Put the provisions what you want done in the trust document rather than a non-binding side letter.
  • To avoid fraud, create a means of identifying your pet - such as a DNA sample, or a chip inserted under the skin.
  • Speak to your lawyer or estate planner for further guidance. An alternative to consider is a company such as Pet-Guardian, offsite link, which creates pet trusts and a cost analysis to determine how much money will be needed to care for your pet. A book on the subject is All My Chidlren Wear Fur Coats: How To Leave A Legacy For Your Pet by Peggy Hoyt, Esq. (Legacy Planning Partners LLC, 2002)

Pet Protection Agreement

A Pet Protection Agreement is a legally enforceable document that ensures continuing care for your pet by legally binding someone to take care of the pet if you cannot.  It is not necessary to leave money for the care of your pet in this document, although the document does alllow for inclusion of monetary provisions. An easy to use form is available for a small fee from offsite link.  (At LegalZoom, click on "Wills and Trusts", then on "pet Protection Agreement")

Please share how this information is useful to you. 0 Comments


Post a Comment Have something to add to this topic? Contact Us.

Characters remaining:

  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
    All other tags will be stripped.