Planning for your pet as part of your estate plan

 When thinking about your estate planning, have you planned for your pet(s)? For many of us, our pets are like children, and we want to ensure that they are properly cared for in the event of our unexpected passing. In Georgia, pets are considered personal property so you can give your pet to an individual or instruct that your Executor has the discretion to find a suitable home for your pet. You may also want to leave a bequest in your Will to the person who agrees to care for your pet as a show of your appreciation, especially considering the rising costs for caring for a pet.  In Georgia, you cannot leave money directly to your pet, but you can set up a trust that will dictate terms for your designated Trustee to make disbursements for the care and support of your pet. Upon your pet’s death, your Trustee will distribute the remaining balance of the Trust to designated  individual(s) and/or charities of your choice.

Another way to plan for your pet(s) care and security is by entering into an agreement where you enter into a contractual arrangement to enroll your pet with a non-profit organization that will be contractually obligated to take care of your pet upon your passing. While this may be a more expensive option, for some people it provides more peace of mind knowing that there will be continuity of care for their pet.

For example, one such organization is the Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center located in Texas as part of Texas A&M University’s veterinary school, see their website for more information at

If you would like to discuss creating a plan of care for your pet(s) upon your passing, we are here to assist.

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