Pets and Inheritance

Pets and InheritanceMany people hold their pets in such high regard as to consider them a part of the family. If you have a pet that you want to ensure is provided for after your death, you cannot do so through a will. Kingwood estate lawyers can help you arrange a means of providing for your dog, cat or other pet.

Wills and Property

Despite movies and urban legends of people leaving vast amounts of money to a pet, the reality is that pets cannot be named as beneficiaries in a will. The reason for this is that pets are legally considered to be property, and since you cannot will money or property to property, your pet cannot be a beneficiary.

How to Make Sure Your Pet Is Provided for

There are ways you can ensure that your pet is cared for after you die. One method is simply to will the pet to a person you trust will care for the pet properly. You should leave an adequate amount of money to the individual for pet care as well. The problem with this method of providing for your pet is that there is no way of guaranteeing that the person left in charge of the pet will use the money for this purpose.

A better way to make sure your pet is cared for is to set up a pet trust. In a trust there are three parties:

  • The trustor, which is the person who sets up the trust
  • The trustee, who holds legal title to the trust
  • The beneficiary, which is the pet itself

The reason why a trust is a superior way to bequeath money to a pet is that the trustee is legally bound to use the resources left in the trust for the purposes outlined in the trust’s instructions. You will need to include an adequate amount of money in the trust for care of the pet as well. In doing so you should consider how long the pet will likely live, and also the fact that as pets age the need for veterinary care generally increases.

Problems with Pet Trusts

Pet trusts are not a fail-safe method of ensuring the care of your pet after your death. You should consider naming a fourth party in the trust, a custodian. This individual will be expected to oversee how the money in the trust is spent. Make sure that the instructions in the trust indicate what to do with any money left over after the death of the pet.

If You Are Considering a Pet Trust

A pet trust might be challenged by human heirs. If you would like more information about pet trusts, consult Kingwood estate lawyers. Call Peterson Law Group at 281-609-0664 or 832-786-5062.

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.