In most cases, pets are considered to be the property of the person who owns them. Therefore, they would likely go through probate if its owner had a traditional will. However, it may be possible to provide for an animal through the creation and funding of a pet trust. The trust would call for a caregiver to make sure that the animal's needs were being met.
There would also be a trustee in charge of providing the caregiver with money as needed and as called for in the trust. Furthermore, the trustee may be able to see the animal and make sure that it is being cared for properly. Creating a trust may be preferable to just leaving items to the animal through a will because it may be easier to challenge. One man challenged his mother's will after it left millions of dollars and a home to her dog.
How much should be left to take care of an depends on the type of animal, its age and its physical condition. For instance, it may take more money to take care of a young horse or parrot that could live for 20 years or more than it would to care for a dog that is in its teens.
Creating an estate plan while in good health and of sound mind may limit family disputes and other legal problems from occurring. An attorney may be helpful in crafting estate planning documents such as a trust for people or pets. If an individual already has a trust, it may be a good idea to review it with an attorney to ensure that it still meets that person's needs. If not, an attorney may explain how to make changes in accordance with state law.