Many pet owners worry about what will happen to their pets if they die or become unable to care for them. While pet owners cannot legally leave any portion of their estate to a pet, they can take steps to ensure their pets receive proper care.
What can you do to provide for your pet in your estate plan?
Consider a pet trust
A pet trust provides for the care and maintenance of pets if the grantor dies or becomes unable to care for them. You can use a pet trust to designate a caretaker for your pet and provide funds for your pet’s needs. If you do not have a friend or family member who can care for your pet, there are animal sanctuaries and perpetual-care programs that may be able to help.
Make a conditional bequest
With a conditional bequest, you can leave your pet and a specific amount of money to a beneficiary who can only use the money to take care of your pet. Alternatively, you can make a direct bequest to a person who agrees to use the bequest to care for your pet.
Include pet expenses in your will
You can specify in your Will that the Executor of your estate should use funds from your estate to pay for your pet’s veterinary care, food and other expenses.
When pet owners do not make plans for their pets, companion animals may end up in animal shelters where they could face euthanasia when their owners die or become unable to care for them. Including your pet in your estate plan can help ensure your pets do not face this fate.