Hopkins Heltzel Law Firm
Call For A Consultation814-299-5496

Estate and probate law include providing for pets

It is no secret that animal shelters are often strained to keep up with the abandoned pets under their care. Animal lovers may dread the thought of those once-loved pets living out their lives in cages with minimal attention and the barest of necessities provided. Some shelters keep animals for a limited time before euthanizing them to make room for more. It may break a pet parent's heart to learn that some of those animals ended up in shelters because their deceased owners made no provisions for them under estate and probate law.

While some may feel they have protected their beloved pets by including them in a will, the law in Pennsylvania and other states does not allow pets to inherit assets. An alternative is for the pet parent to leave money, along with instructions, to someone appointed as a caregiver. It is best to pre-arrange this since not everyone may welcome a pet. Some people are able to find an organization to adopt the pet.

Another option is for a pet owner to create a pet trust, which will offer the owner more control over how the funds are used for the pet since a trustee must distribute the assets to the caregiver. Pet parents may also consider purchasing a life insurance policy to fund the trust. Using a trust for one's pets will mean including instructions for when the pet dies, for the distribution of any remaining assets and for an alternative caregiver if the primary one cannot fulfill his or her duties.

Pet owners are in the majority in Pennsylvania and beyond. However, few pet owners have made provisions for their loyal companions. Seeking the advice of an attorney for information about estate and probate law, such as pet trusts, will help many make informed decisions about their estate plans.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Estate plan needs to provide for pets, too", Terry Savage, Oct. 6, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Tell Us About Your Case!

Our dedicated team of experienced attorneys bring years of successful litigation and courtroom experience to offer a fresh outlook for all your legal matters. Regardless of the complexity of your situation, our team can provide you with a thorough evaluation of your case and current legal standing. To request additional information regarding our services, please reach out to our offices at your earliest convenience by calling 814-299-5496.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy


100 Meadow Lane
Suite 5
DuBois, PA 15801

Phone: 814-299-5496
Fax: 814-375-5035
DuBois Law Office Map

Review Us