What Happens to Your Pet When You Die?

What happens to man’s best friend when man dies? In the eyes of the law, your dog, cat or other pet is just another item of tangible personal property. Like a table, chair, desk, or lamp that you can give away in your last will and testament. This means that you can name someone to receive your pet when you die. This also means that if you do not name someone, then whoever is entitled to the rest of your tangible personal property is also entitled to your pet.

Some people love their pets so much they try to leave money to them in their will. This does not work. Pets can’t own things. But, a pet owner can specify in a last will and testament that a trust be set up to provide funds to take care of the pet.

So, next time you’re talking to your pet, think about who you want to do the talking when you’re gone. Then tell your lawyer to update your will.

Jim Martin
St. Petersburg, Florida
3/20/11