What Happens To Pets When Their Owner Dies?

What Happens To Pets When Their Owner Dies?

When an owner dies, their pet companions may be left behind without anyone to care for them. If the owner has not made arrangements for their pets in their Last Will and Testament, it can be difficult to know what to do with them. Often, family members or friends are not able or willing to take on the responsibility of caring for the animals, and they may end up being surrendered to a shelter.

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You Made No Arrangements For your Pets In Your Will

If you find yourself in this situation, there are some things you can do to try and find a new home for your pet:

  1. Reach out to your network of family and friends to see if anyone is able to take on the responsibility of caring for your pet.

  2. There are many organizations that specialize in rehoming pets, such as rescue groups or foster programs. These organizations may be able to take in your pet and help find them a new home.

  3. You can also try reaching out to animal shelters in your area to see if they have any space available. Be aware that most shelters are already at capacity and may not be able to take in additional animals.

  4. If you are unable to find a new home for your pet, you may need to consider euthanasia. This is a difficult decision to make, but sometimes it is the best option for the animal if they are suffering from a terminal illness or their quality of life is poor.

No matter what you decide to do, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time.

Setting up a Pet Trust

One way to ensure that your pet will be taken care of after you die is to set up a pet trust. This is a legal arrangement in which you designate someone to care for your pet and provides them with the financial resources to do so.

To set up a pet trust, you will need to:

  1. Choose a trustee: This should be someone who is responsible and whom you can trust to take care of your pet according to your wishes.

  2. Decide how the trust will be funded: You will need to determine how much money will be needed to care for your pet and make arrangements for this money to be placed into the trust.

  3. Create a document outlining your wishes: This document should include instructions on how you want your pet to be cared for after you die.

A pet trust can be a good option for those who want to make sure their pets are taken care of after they die, but it is important to keep in mind that this is a legal arrangement and can be complex to set up. If you are considering this option, you should speak to an attorney to get more information.

Sample Pet Trust

This is a pet trust created on ___________ by ___________ for the care of her animal companion, ___________.

1. Purpose

The purpose of this trust is to provide for the ongoing care and wellbeing of my pet, ___________, after my death. It is my hope that this trust will ensure that ___________ will be able to remain in his or her current home or be placed in a suitable home where he or she will be well cared for according to my instructions.

2. Trustee

I appoint ___________ as trustee of this trust. It is my intention that the trustee shall have full authority to carry out the terms of this trust and make all decisions regarding the care of ___________.

3. Funding

The trustee shall use the following assets to fund this trust:

(list assets and estimated values)

4. Care of ___________

I instruct the trustee to use the assets of this trust to provide for the ongoing care of ___________, including but not limited to food, shelter, veterinary care, and other necessary expenses. The trustee may also use funds from the trust to pay for any one-time expenses related to ___________’s care, such as relocation costs if he or she needs to be placed in a new home.

5. Placement in a New Home

In the event that it is necessary to find ___________ a new home, the trustee shall use reasonable efforts to place him or her in a home that meets the following criteria:

(list desired criteria for ___________’s new home)

6. Other Instructions

(include any other instructions regarding ___________’s care that you wish to provide)

7. Termination of Trust

This trust shall terminate upon the death of ___________ or upon ___________’s placement in a suitable home, whichever occurs first. Upon termination of the trust, all remaining assets shall be distributed to ___________’s current owner.

8. Governing Law

This trust shall be governed by the laws of the state of ___________.

Signed ___________

Date ___________


No one wants to think about what will happen to their pets after they die, but it is important to make plans for their care just as you would for any other member of your family. By taking the time to understand your options and make a plan, you can ensure that your pet will be taken care of according to your wishes.

Get started today and download our Last Will and Testament

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