Who Will Care for Your Pet When You’re Gone?

Who Will Care for Your Pet When You’re Gone?

Generally, when it comes to estate planning tools, many people are aware that they should have a will, power of attorney, living will, and/or a trust. These documents direct the distribution of your assets after your death and can include instructions for matters that require decisions after death or incapacitation and to continue taking care of your family. Some wills can provide for specific distributions to people at certain ages they reach. A living will provides instructions to an agent if you become incapacitated. A power of attorney can name an agent to act with respect to certain matters like accessing bank accounts if you become incapacitated. More likely than not, the documents become of some use to your loved ones at an extremely troubling time. When you are not around to answer their questions about what your wishes, the answers may be found in one of these documents. Therefore, it is important to leave no room for doubt or questions in your estate planning.

Some people consider their pets as family members or otherwise want to make sure their pet is cared for after they pass away. Unfortunately, the law looks at pets as property, so people are unable to make an outright gift or leave their estate to the pet. What you can do, however, is establish trust for the purpose of caring for your pet. The trust would include who would take care of the animal, instructions on the pet’s care, and monies to provide care for the pet. This trust would be established for the lifetime of the pet, or if multiple pets exist, then for the lifetime of the last remaining pet owned by you during your lifetime.

Estate planning can be confusing and complex, so it is always best to work with an attorney to draft your estate planning documents. Additionally, it is important to periodically review your estate planning documents to make sure they continue to accomplish your testamentary desires. If you need assistance with reviewing your estate planning documents or would like to get started with your estate planning reach out to us at Shumaker Williams, P.C.  We are here to help.


This article was written by Summer Pannizzo. The information contained herein is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this blog should be construed as legal advice from Shumaker Williams P.C. or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. This blog is current as of the date of original publication.


Shumaker Williams

September 27, 2023