What does a pet trust do?

Whether you are a new pet owner or you have had pets your entire life, your animal is likely a significant part of what makes your life whole. They interact with you on your best days and your worst and always understand how you are feeling.

Your estate plan is a way for you to care for your loved ones after you pass away. It is only natural to want to include your pets so they can continue to receive excellent care.

Here’s what you should know about creating a pet trust.

What goes into the trust?

On a basic level, a pet trust provides care for your pet after you pass away. While funding the trust is one step, the trust also needs to include information about your pet, such as:

  • A detailed description of your pet, including microchip information and photos, or, more generally, “my pets at the time of my illness or death.”
  • Your pet’s current standard of care (feed, recreation, grooming)
  • Instructions for your pet’s burial or cremation when they pass away

Your pet trust should also include a remainder beneficiary for any funds that remain after your pet passes away.

Who should be my pet’s caregiver?

Part of creating a pet trust is naming someone to care for your pet when you are no longer able. While there is oversight by a designated trustee, you want to make sure the person you choose will provide the care you want your pet to have.

You should talk to your friends and family to determine who will be the best candidate. Ideally, you should choose someone who also has a good relationship with your pet so they can have a smooth transition in caring for your animal.


Pet trusts can be complex but important documents to ensure the care and keeping of your pet. It is essential to talk to a knowledgeable professional about what you need to create a trust for your pet.

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