Can I Leave Money in Trust for My Pet in Texas?

PetMany years ago, Betty White famously made the news for planning to leave her entire estate to her pets. The idea shocked some and left others wondering whether they should consider doing the same — or at least consider making provisions for pet care in the event of their untimely deaths.

Changes in Pets as Estate Beneficiaries

Taking pets into consideration when estate planning is a relatively new concept. Prior to pets being legally recognized as potential beneficiaries, gifts made through a will or trust for the benefit of a pet simply lapsed and went back into the estate to be divided among ‘real’ heirs.

States began to implement laws recognizing pets as potential beneficiaries in the nineties. To date, Texas is among forty-six states which allow animals to be the beneficiaries of trust instruments, even if they can’t legally own property outright.

Texas Allows Trusts for Pets

Texas Property Code provides:

§ 112.037 (a) A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates on the death of the animal or, if the trust is created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, on the death of the last surviving animal.

Considering the life span of some common pets — parakeets can live up to 15 years in captivity, small dogs around 15 years and indoor cats around 20 years — it makes sense to plan ahead and make sure Fluffy will be taken care of if something happens to you.

For More Information About Pet Trusts in Texas

To make or change your will or trust to include care for pets after you’re gone, call an experienced estate planning lawyer at the Peterson Law Group. Our experienced Conroe, Texas attorneys help clients develop comprehensive estate plans, including drafting wills and other documents to ensure your wishes are carried out. Call us at 936-337-4681 or 979-703-7014 or contact us online to arrange an appointment.

About Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is an attorney and the owner and founder of Peterson Law Group, a Texas law firm with offices in Bryan/College Station and Kingwood. He mainly practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Business Planning. Chris is also a Certified Estate Planner. Besides his law practice, Chris is a serial entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is known for his cutting edge law practice that utilizes technology to deliver efficient, excellent work.