Heritage Elder Law and Estate Planning offers appointments in-person at one of our six offices, virtually or over-the-phone for the convenience of our clients.

Please mail all information to our Butler address.

Heritage Tree LogoHow Can I Make Sure My Pet Is Cared for After I Die?

two dogs running

It is sad to think about the possibility of leaving your pet behind when you, unfortunately, pass on. But you may rest easier knowing that there is a way to still protect your pet when you are no longer around. Follow along to find out how you can ensure your pet is cared for in your estate plan and how one of the proficient Butler County trust attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can help you in doing so.

How can I ensure my pet is cared for after I die?

Understandably so, you may consider your pet as another member of your family. This is why the state of Pennsylvania recognizes the concept of a pet trust. But first, you must understand the concept of a standard trust. This is a legal arrangement that allows you (the trustor) to appoint a reliable individual (a trustee) to hold onto your assets until it is time for your loved ones (your beneficiaries) to inherit them.

With that being said, a pet trust is an estate planning document that is intended to verify the funds you wish to leave behind for your pet once you have passed on. It may also state your wishes for your pet’s healthcare, veterinary provider, and burial proceedings, along with how the remaining funds should be allocated once your pet has also passed on.

What should I include in my pet trust?

First of all, you may establish your pet trust through your last will, as a stand-alone trust, or through your revocable living trust, inter vivos trust, or testamentary trust. The option you choose may depend on the unique estate plan you have implemented thus far.

Then, you must focus on how to properly execute your pet trust. It is in your best interest to follow the below steps:

  1. Select a trustee whom you trust to manage your pet trust, and this should be an individual distinct from who you select as the guardian.
  2. Establish the responsibilities you wish for your appointed trustee to uphold, like the timeline of distributing your funds.
  3. Select a guardian whom you trust to have the custodial liability of your pet, and this should be an individual who equally has your pet’s best interest at heart.
  4. Establish the responsibilities you wish for your appointed guardian to uphold, like the type of care you want your pet to receive.
  5. Appoint both a backup trustee and guardian if these individuals have passed on before your pet.
  6. Assign funds that you expect will last for the rest of your pet’s life.

With all that being said, the sooner you establish your estate plan, the better. So do not hesitate in contacting one of the talented Butler County estate planning attorneys today.

Estate Planning & Probate

Whether you’re looking to secure your family’s future, protect a loved one’s assets or provide a loved one with the financial assistance he or she needs to afford long-term care, we are committed to serving your needs. We consistently offer creative and effective solutions to your most complex and sensitive estate planning needs and help your wishes come to fruition through our probate service.

Learn More

Elder Law, Medicaid Planning & Asset Protection

Everybody’s life is full of both expected and unexpected challenges. With our experience with elder law issues, we can help you enjoy the later years and retain full control over decisions that directly impact you. The attorneys at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning view every challenge as an opportunity. We can help you or your loved one today.

Read Our Recent Blog Posts