For the Love of Your Family

How to Ensure Your Pets Are Protected in the Event of Your Death or Incapacity

Estate Planning / Planning for Your Pets / Will and Trusts

If you have pets, you probably want to make sure they are well-taken care of, if anything happens to you. Unfortunately, wishing for their good fortune isn’t enough. Too many animals are abandoned when their owners die and face rehoming, life in an animal shelter, or worse.

To make sure your furry friend is taken care of when you become incapacitated or upon your death, you can leave assets for their care and custody. The best way to leave your faithful companion assets is to set up a pet trust.

With a pet trust, you can create certain rules for how the trust’s funds can be used. You can name a trustee—the person who will control and manage the funds—and a caregiver for your pet. By having a trustee manage the funds, you can be ensured the caregiver will only benefit from them if they are used according to the rules of the trust.

Another way people leave money and instructions for the care of their pets is with a will. But wills cannot ensure the funds are used in the way you want them to be, nor do they ensure the caregiver will care for your pet. A person who is left a pet in a will can turn around and leave the pet at a shelter and pocket the money left to them for their own use instead.

Leaving your pet assets is easy with a pet trust. But trust creation can be complicated, and working with a lawyer to develop the terms of the trust is highly recommended.

If you are ready to create a pet trust, start by sitting down with a Personal Family Lawyer®. A Personal Family Lawyer® can walk you step by step through creating a pet trust and other legal resources to ensure your loved ones are taken care of. Personal Family Lawyers offer Family Wealth Planning Sessions that help you protect and preserve your wealth for future generations. Before the session, they’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what your wishes are when you die.

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