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Can you leave part of your estate to your pet?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Your children and your real estate aren’t the only considerations when you create your estate plan. Whether you have a dog, a cat or a macaw that will live for several more decades, you may want to provide for your companion animal when you plan your estate. 

The idea that you could leave assets directly to the animal may seem like a good solution. People do create estate plans that list pets as beneficiaries. That way, someone from your family would be likely to accept the obligation of taking care of the animals after your death. 

While that may seem like a simple approach to a common concern, leaving a direct inheritance to your animal or bequeathing it directly to a member of your family could be a tragic mistake. 

Animals can’t own property

In all but the rarest of legal situations, an animal does not have the right to inherit property or to own assets. The family member who assumes control over the animal will also take ownership of the property you leave to the animal. They might then abandon the animal at a pound or euthanize it.

Creating a pet trust is a better solution than leaving assets directly to a pet. It allows you to leave specific assets for the care of the pet while naming a trustee who will not be the animal’s caretaker provides a second layer of protection against euthanization or unethical behavior by the person who assumes control over your pets when you die. 

Learning more about the estate planning tools that help you protect those that love you will give you peace of mind and create security for those that depend on you for protection.