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When pet owners die what happens to their pets? Is there such a thing as estate planning for pets the way there is estate planning for people? How does a pet owner make sure that his or her pet is cared for, and given the love he or she would have provided?

Pet are family to the people who own them. They give comfort, joy and companionship, especially to the elderly. But, when pet owners die, their pets are left to no one, and beloved companions become stray cats and dogs in the streets. How can owners make sure that this scenario never happens?

A Glimpse at Estate Planning for Pets

Estate planning is a concept and task that most pet owners don’t engage in. This decision results in pets being left in shelters and even worst the streets because their owners are dead and there’s no one to take care of them. And for pet owners who want to leave money or inheritance for their pets, they find it hard to do so because pets are considered as property and not the beneficiary. It is not possible to leave property to property. And all the more it’s not allowed to leave money to property.

That’s why planning for pets play a crucial role because estate planning will make sure that pets are provided for. Owners who include their pets in their estate planning can rest assured that their pets will be given a home, food and even checkups to the vet even after they are gone.

So how can a pet owner ensure that their pets have protection after they die?

There are many ways that pet owners can make sure that their pets are provided for and here are some of them.

Choosing a caretaker

One of the easiest ways to secure a pet’s welfare is leaving them in the care of others. Picking family members who are capable of taking care of the pet or pets to be left at the of the pet owners. The usual route would be giving money to the person assigned to care for the pet. An example would be a child of the pet owner being given the role of caring for the pet and being reimbursed with money for his or her service. It can even be someone else and not a relative.

The disadvantage of this approach

Since this type of arrangement is between the pet owner and the chosen caretaker, caution should be in place especially if a pet has been allotted a big amount of cash. A son of the pet owner may take the money and leave the pet to die on the streets. And this is possible since no one is monitoring the pet’s caretaker.

Writing them in a Will

Pets though considered property by the law can be included in a will. Similar to how a property or business is given to someone for them to care for, the same can be done with pets. A statement in a will that says “my pet Fido will go to my daughter” can be included. The beneficiary will then be given money or inheritance for taking care of Fido, as well as cash for providing Fido’s needs.

The disadvantage of this approach

Similar to the situation of choosing a caretaker, writing or including a pet in a will must have precaution. The named person in a will can take the money meant for the pet and not care for it at all. And including a clause that leaves all the leftover money intended for Fido to his caretaker when he dies is a death wish for the pet.

Using a Trust

Estate planning is rooted in making a trust for pet care after death or pet protection. Using estate planning, the elements of choosing a caretaker and writing in a will are incorporated in a Trust. The trust for the pet will allow the pet owner to choose a caretaker who will watch over, protect and give the needs of the pet. And at the same time, the will leaves provision for the pet and the caretaker. Since it is a Trust, the pet has insurance and pet protection since the trustees will check on the caretaker and his or her actions. This monitoring makes sure that the pet is taken cared of properly and that the money set aside for it is used correctly.


Estate planning ensures that there are pet insurance and pet protection. Any pet owner whether a dog owner or cat owner can feel at ease knowing that their pets are taken cared of after their death. With the use of a Trust, pet owners are certain that their pets are cared for and provided the love that they need.