Provide for Your Pets in a Will or Trust

Tip – When I pass away, who will care for my pets?

Here is an amusing quote by Winston Churchill: “I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

On a more serious note, pets offer us companionship and bring joy into our lives. In return, we want to make sure they are cared for if we become incapacitated or after we have passed away.

There are several options for placing pets, including family members, friends, the Idaho Humane Society, and other foster, adoption, and Rescue Programs. Local organizations like the Bannock Humane Society will strive to find a good home for your pets if no other options are available.

If it becomes difficult during your lifetime to care for your pets, you can prepare a “Pet Power of Attorney” which gives someone the authority to care for your pet if you become incapacitated or if you are gone on a trip.

If you plan to leave your pet with an individual after you have passed away, you should discuss with the prospective caretaker if they are willing to care for your pet. If they accept, you can leave your pet to that person in your Will. You may also want to leave some money or other pet care items to that person, asking the person to use the money and items to care for your pet. Your request expresses your desires, but it is nonbinding on your caretaker. You cannot leave money or other property directly to an animal.

A more complex and expensive method to provide for your pet is to set up a Pet Trust. Idaho Code § 15-7-601 allows for a Trust to be set up for a pet. Funds can be put into the Trust with instructions that are binding as to how the money is to be used and how your pet is to be cared for.

If you want to provide for your pet’s future, consider leaving specific instructions with your Will on how to care for your pet. Your pet has taken good care of you, so make sure your pet is taken care of after you are gone.

An example of a pet care instruction sheet is attached below.

View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.

May 2024