Can I Include Pets In My Will?

black dog laying on floor

It’s no secret that people love their pets. In fact, research collected by Rover confirms this:

  • 94% of people consider their dog a family member.
  • Over 50% of people would end a relationship if their dog doesn’t appear to be a fan of the new person.
  • 47% of pet owners admit they struggle to leave their pet more than they do their human partner.
  • When arriving back at home, 56% of people greet their pets before any other humans in the house.

Pets play an important role in the life of a pet owner. So, do they have a role in your estate plan? Let’s look into your options.

Can I Leave Money to my Pet?

Can your pet be a beneficiary in your will? Beneficiaries receive money and other assets as laid out in the descendent’s will. Though pets are living creatures, they are not able to be beneficiaries. You cannot directly leave them any assets. Legally, they are considered property.

Pet Trusts

Pet trusts allow you to leave specific instructions for what should happen with your beloved pets after your passing. This includes naming a caretaker for them. Ask your friends and family who would be willing to bring your furry friend into their home, and then name them within the trust.

You may also leave money to your designated pet guardian specifically for animal care in the pet trust.
This could be:

  • Pet food
  • Medications
  • Vet bills
  • Cat litter
  • Toys
  • Grooming

Do your best to estimate how much this will cost over a set number of years. It can be expensive to care for a pet, so make sure you leave enough money for all of their needs. If you overestimate, you can leave instructions for what to do with the excess funds.

You may also leave instructions for care in the trust, and any notes that you feel are important for the caretaker to know.

Dallas Wills and Trusts Attorneys

Including pet care in your will may be something you’ve never thought about before. Throughout the process of estate planning, it’s beneficial to work with an experienced attorney who can answer your questions as they arise. At DebnamRust, P.C., we prioritize client communication to ensure you get your questions answered in a timely and thorough manner. To speak further with our estate planning attorneys, feel free to give us a call at (214) 758-8681.