Your pet is a treasured part of your family, but the law considers your pet property. This may leave you wondering what will happen to it after your death. Is it possible for you to leave instructions for its care? Can you provide financially for your pet after your death?

The ASPCA explains the answers to those questions are all yes because you can create a pet trust. A trust allows you to create legal arrangements for the care of your pet when you are no longer able to do it.

The trustee

The person who you put in charge of the trust is the trustee. It is his or her job to use the funds you place in the trust according to your instructions to care for your pet. Typically, this will include payment to whoever is caring for your pet as a caretaker’s fee. The trustee is usually a third-party who is not caring for the pet or who has no benefit from the trust. This helps ensure proper trust management.

The trust

The trust itself will contain funds that you will put in it. It will last for the life of your pet, so it is important that when you create it that you put enough money in it to cover expenses for your pet’s potential life span. For some pets, this may be much shorter and require less funding than for other pets, such as parrots which have a longer life span than most humans.

Your will

If you have special wishes about the care of your pet, you will include that in your will. The will is also where you can name the caregiver. The trust is for financial care only.