Who will care for your beloved animal companions once you’re gone or in the event of something unforeseen? Many pets find themselves homeless after an owner passes away or becomes incapacitated. We often don’t think about this aspect of pet ownership. To ensure their well-being and continued care, it’s critical to plan ahead. To make sure your wishes are fulfilled, consider creating a special will, trust, or other document to establish your desires for the future of your pets.

To get started, the first thing you need to do is designate who will care for your pet if something happens to you. This could be a spouse, a child, another relative or a friend. Discuss your wishes with your chosen caretaker. Make certain they agree to assume responsibility for your pet.

Once you’ve decided who will take care of your pet, put your post-mortem wishes in writing. There are three different ways to do this: in a will, a memorandum or what’s called a Pet Trust. Each has its pros and cons, depending on your specific circumstances. You may want to consult an attorney or estate-planning specialist to get the best advice for your situation. Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue does not offer legal advice,but an overview of the three methods is listed here.


Leaving your pet to someone in your will can be as simple as including a statement such as, “I leave my pet dog, Tucker, to my sister Jane Smith.” This statement is legally binding and establishes that Jane will inherit Tucker. Consult an attorney for the best advice on structuring a will.


Some states allow individuals to create a binding letter (or memorandum) leaving their tangible property to specific individuals when they pass if the document is signed by the pet owner. A letter or memorandum may be a good option if, for instance, you are going to have surgery or are going on a trip and want to get something in writing quickly so that your pet is protected in case something unexpected happens.

Whether or not such a memorandum is valid varies from state to state, so it’s best to consult an attorney in your state to determine if this is a viable option for you.


A Pet Trust is a more elaborate legal document that attempts to address all the above issues by setting aside a sum of money for your pet’s care. Pet Trusts identify your pet by name, designate an appointed caretaker, designate a trustee to manage any set-aside money, and dictate the type of care your pet should receive after you’re gone. An attorney can help you set up a Pet Trust and an estate-planning professional can help with specific details.

The most important thing is that you choose a plan and implement it. You’ll rest easy knowing that your family pet will be in good hands if you can no longer care for it yourself.

3238 Cherokee Street | Kennesaw, GA 30144

Sorry, this website uses features that your browser doesn’t support. Upgrade to a newer version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge and you’ll be all set.