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Home > Blog > Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Deeds, Business Succession) > Legal Considerations When Leaving Money for the Care of Pets

Legal Considerations When Leaving Money for the Care of Pets


There are many individuals who are interested in leaving money for the care and upkeep of their beloved pets. That is why the idea of pet trusts and pet care conveyances are recognized in the realm of estate planning. To accomplish this requires specialized knowledge and certainly requires attorney involvement. These are subtle nuances to which individuals must adhere if they want to ensure a pet is taken care of after they are deceased. Leaving it a will is one way to accomplish this. However, the use of a trust is a more effective, but expensive method.

Leaving Money in a Will

Individuals who use a will to ensure that their pet is cared for must beware. The rule is a simple one: a testator cannot leave money directly to a pet. For example, a will cannot state “I bequeath $50,000 to Fido.” This conveyance is not enforceable. The property (in this case the $50,000) will simply fall into the will’s residuary estate. The residuary estate comprises of the assets that remain after all the specifically devised assets are distributed from the total estate. The residuary estate is then distributed to one or more parties. With leaving money directly to a pet, you run the risk of not accomplishing the intended aim. The conveyance will likely fail. The proper way to use a will to ensure the care of a pet is to leave the assets to a trusted beneficiary. Therefore, not only must the will specify that the money is for the care of the pet, but it must also name a caretaker. The wording of the conveyance must be as such that the assets are only used for the care of the pet.

Leaving Money in a Trust

The more efficient and effective way of ensuring that a pet is cared for is the use of a trust. A pet trust is a trust that is set up for the benefit of one or more pets. The law in most states permits these trusts. Florida is one of the many states that permit pet trusts. The structure of the trust includes a trustee who handles the money left for the pets and a caregiving who provides the daily care. A pet trust is a more effective tool for various reasons. The document can describe the pet’s care plan and name an individual who can go into court to enforce the trust in case it is not being enforced. Although there are many advantages to using a trust, it is the more expensive and complex option. Still, there is less room for error when using a trust.

West Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney

It is imperative to involve an attorney if you are thinking about how to best ensure your pet is cared for when you are no longer here. Call the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. in West Palm Beach to determine which process best suits your estate planning needs.

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