Pet Trusts Are an Important Part of Estate Planning

Berks County Pet Trust Lawyer Larry Miller, Jr.

Larry Miller, Jr.


  • like so many other people, feel your pet is a vital part of the family;
  • love your pet and want to provide benefits for your pet(s) just as you do for your children and other loved ones; and
  • want to ensure that, if anything happens to you, your pet(s) is well taken care of and receives the benefits it needs to lead a full and happy life.

Addressing these concerns is best accomplished by setting up a Pet Trust. Pet Trusts are therefore an essential part of your Estate Planning.

Pennsylvania has recognized trusts designed to benefit animals since 2006. However, there are different types of Pet Trusts. Choosing the right one is very important in your Estate Planning. Our Pet Trust Experts will help you select the right Pet Trust.

Understanding Pet Trusts in Pennsylvania

You need a Pet Trust because pets cannot inherit from you directly under Pennsylvania law. A Pet Trust assigns a trustee who

  • gets custody of your pet;
  • receives adequate money and assets to pay for your pet’s care; and
  • lastly, is duty-bound to offer proper care to your pet following guidelines you set up.

The Trustee in a Pet Trust can be a

  • bank;
  • legal professional;
  • trusted friend;
  • advisor; or
  • capable third party.

Pet Trusts can set up as

  • part of your will; or
  • as an “inter vivos” trust, which will go into effect as soon as you are unable to care for your pet.

Pet Trusts contain detailed information about the care your pet will receive. Examples include

  • visits to a specific veterinarian;
  • specific types of pet food;
  • certain routines; and
  • favorite treats.

The trust gives you total peace of mind because it will remain in place until the end of your pet’s life.

Types of Pet Trusts in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania recognizes three types of structures for Pet Trusts:

  1. Statutory Pet Trust – This type of trust allows you to designate a third party to ensure the assets in your Trust are used by the trustee correctly in taking care of your pet.
  2. Honorary Pet Trust – This type of Trust doesn’t specifically designate a beneficiary, which may make it harder to enforce.
  3. Traditional Legal Trust – This type of trust places the pet and the assets to care for the pet in the Trust. The trustee is the beneficiary of the Trust. Your attorney can craft the language, so the trustee is duty-bound to take care of the pet according to your wishes using the money in the Trust to do so.
    Some attorneys consider this type of Pet Trust to be among the most reliable form of protection for your pet. 

Our Pet Trust Attorneys can help you

  • determine which type of pet trust is most appropriate for your situation;
  • calculate how much you need to leave to care for your pet; and
  • choose a trustee if you don’t have anyone in mind.

Why You Need Our Proven, Experienced Pet Trust Lawyers

Our Pet Trusts Lawyers have over 40 Years’ Experience helping Berks County residents around Reading, PA protect their pets. Make sure your Pet Trust is correct. iA well-written Pet Trusts the only way to gain total peace of mind regarding your pet’s future well being. Our Pet Trust Lawyers will

  • take as much time as necessary to gain a full understanding of your unique situation and wishes regarding your pet(s);
  • help you to
      • consider things you might have overlooked;
      • determine how much the benefits should be;
      • decide to include the Pet Trust as part or your will or “inter vivos”; and
      • lastly, decide on the best structure for you Pet Trust.

Contact Us Online or by phone at 610-670-9000. We’d be happy to help you with Estate Planning for all your family members including your pets.

Miller Law Group Berks County Law Offices in West Lawn, PA

Miller Law Group’s Berks County Law Offices are in West Lawn, PA near Reading.

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