Top 5 Things to Know About Planning for Your Pet

November 2, 2017

Whether it’s Fifi, Fluffy, Fido or Feathers, your pet is part of the family and doubtless you want to know he’ll be well provided for once you’re gone. Don’t leave decisions to be made without your input. Here are five points to consider in incorporating your pet into your estate plan. 

1. You need to plan through probate.

Sure, you can put provisions in your Will that set forth the terms of care for your pet on a long term basis. But your Will must be probated and your pet will need care immediately—so who’s to provide it? Make sure the person who’ll be named to care for your pet is aware of your decision, and that the person who will have access to your pet at your passing knows to turn him over to the caregiver.

2. You can establish a trust especially for your pet.

A Pet Trust that’s established under an Agreement separate from your Will can become effective upon disability or death, and need not be probated in order to take effect. A Pet Trust can be funded upon execution and is ready to be utilized immediately upon becoming effective. The trust terms can provide stipulations for the care of your pet down to every last detail.

3. A Pet Trust allows you to plan for the long term.

You’ll want to plan for contingencies just as you do in all other aspects of your plan. A Pet Trust permits you to choose successors to the individual you appoint as Trustee of the trust, to provide for an investment advisor, and even to specify what should occur with remaining trust assets if the trust is not exhausted at your pet’s death.

4. Not all trusts are created equal. 

Most states have statutes that provide for the enforceability of Pet Trusts, but others will require specific language be contained in the trust instrument in order to render it effective. You may need to authorize an individual to enforce the trust or name a caretaker as beneficiary, so make sure your attorney is experienced in writing these types of trusts.

5. You should also consult your financial planner.

In order to fund a trust for your pet, you’ll need to answer the question of, “How much?”Various factors must be taken into account, including details surrounding your pet’s age, health, and living expenses, which, of course, vary: a horse costs more to board, but a parrot lives much longer! You’ll also want to factor in investment returns and your estate plan as a whole.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your Relationship Team or email us at

Glenmede’s Top 5 is intended to be an unconstrained review of matters of possible interest to Glenmede Trust Company clients and friends and is not intended as personalized investment, estate planning, tax or legal advice. Investment and wealth advice depends on many individual facts and circumstances we cannot account for here. For legal and tax advice, consult your lawyer or accountant. Opinions or projections herein are based on information available at the time of publication and may change thereafter. Information gathered from other sources is assumed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Outcomes (including performance) may differ materially from expectations herein due to various risks and uncertainties. Any reference to risk management or risk control does not imply that risk can be eliminated. All investments have risk. Please contact your Glenmede representative to discuss the applicability of any matter discussed herein.