Schrock Law Office does estate planning for pets, including pet trusts!

Many people, understandably, want to make provisions for their pets as part of their estate plan. But, because pets are considered personal property in Oregon and Washington, a you cannot just will money or property to your pet. But there are ways to provide for your pet as part of an estate plan.

One solution is to give the pet or pets by will or living trust to someone that you know. Ideally, that person has already agreed to take care of the pet. It is a good idea to include a gift of money, as taking care of pets can get expensive. This method can work well if the person is still around when you pass, and that person carries through with taking care of your pet.

Another solution is to contract with a pet retirement home, and make appropriate provisions in your estate planning instruments to accomplish the pet’s move to the retirement home. Of course you should check out the home first, and make sure that you are comfortable with the level of care that will be provided.

If you place great importance on your pet or pets, and are particular about how the pet or pets should be taken care of after you pass, then a pet trust may be a great solution. With a pet trust, an irrevocable trust is established and funded to provide for your pets, and you may provide specifics as to how to care for the pets (or pet). You can then provide specifics as to the living arrangements, food type, health care, and the like. While this solution is more expensive, and will only be applicable to those people that are place a high level of commitment (including financial commitment) on providing for their pets, it is the best solution for that type of pet owner.