If you are a pet owner, it is likely that you feel as though your pet or pets are part of your family. Planning ahead by using a pet trust can be one of the most popular tools you’ll consider in order for providing for their care if something were to happen to you.

A pet trust is a sanctioned agreement that outlines the maintenance and care of one or more of your pets in the event that you were to pass away. The trust could also take effect during your lifetime if specific conditions render you unable to care for the pets.

A trustee will be responsible for holding property in trust for the benefit of these pets. Payments to the caregivers for the pets will be made on a regular basis. This allows for your pets’ life to continue for as long as it lasts or for 21 years, whichever occurs first. Trusts are considered legally enforceable arrangements, and this is why many pet owners consider using a pet trust. Read on to learn more about what you can do to ensure that your pet trust is set up properly.

  • Determine the amount of funds that you would need to place into the trust to cover the expenses of administering during the trust as well as caring for the pet.
  • Outline what responsibilities the trustee will have outside of financial management such as regular inspections of your pet.
  • Describe the details of your pet’s care as well as their standard of living.
  • Provide instructions for how the remains of your pet should be disposed of upon their death.
  • Identify your pets in order to clearly prevent fraud using things like DNA samples, microchips or photos.
  • Determine how the funds are to be distributed given your pet’s standard of living.

Pet trusts can give you a great deal of confidence and flexibility when it comes to taking care of your animals in the event that something happens to you. If you wish to provide for your pets so that there is as little difficulty for them when something happens to you, you may consider using a pet trust to establish funds for their care and the naming of an official caregiver who can help them. You should always work with an experienced Arizona estate planning attorney when putting together a pet trust so that you can have peace of mind about the provisions inside.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Tips for Making a Pet Trust, or any other estate planning matters, please feel free to contact Stephen L. West at 480.461.5341,or Curtis M. Chipman at 480.461.5329. You can also log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.