Can I put my pet in my will?

Can I put my pet in my will?

While many people often think of their (human) loved ones when drafting a will, more and more people are looking to ensure that their pets are provided for once they die.


Overview

While many people often think of their (human) loved ones when drafting a will, more and more people are looking to ensure that their pets are provided for once they die. 

In fact, media news outlets reported that Betty White left $5,000,000 of her estate for the benefit of her furry friends. 


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How can I leave money for my pet?

It's not legally possible to leave an inheritance directly to your pet - but you can leave an inheritance for the pet's benefit. 

There are two main ways that you can do this: 

  1. Leave cash to your pet's new owner, and hope for the best; or
  2. Leave an inheritance to a trust fund that is created by your will. The trust fund will specify how the money is to be used, who will be controlling the trust, and how will be providing for your pet's basic care. 

While, for many, setting up a trust can seem daunting - there are many benefits:

  • You can specify exactly how the money is used. For example, you can set a monthly budget for pet care and supplies. 
  • The money can be put towards an individual pet sitter or paying the fees for a pet sanctuary. 
  • If your pet should pass away prematurely (or there are simply funds left-over once the pet passes), that money can be distributed to other loved ones (including friends, family, or a charity).