Life Insurance and Pets: What Options Do You Have?

Your pet is a part of your family. So of course you want to take care of your pet after your death. But can you make your pet the beneficiary of your life insurance policy?

Why Your Pet Can’t Receive Your Life Insurance Benefit

Unfortunately, you can’t make your pet the recipient of your life insurance benefit. This might seem unfair, but legally, an animal isn’t a person. They don’t understand insurance, money, and signatures—and so you can’t simply set up a bank account for them.

On top of that, under the law, a pet is considered a possession—just like your money. That might sound strange because you know your pet is an individual with its own character, likes, and dislikes. But legally, you can’t leave money to another possession.

Start a Trust to Ensure Your Pet Is Taken Care of After Your Death

However, you can make a pet trust the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

A pet trust allows you to leave your pet, the legal obligation to take care of your pet, and your death benefit to a caretaker you choose. The death benefit then goes solely towards the care of your pet. And if the caretaker doesn’t follow your instructions for caring for your pet, they’re liable and can be sued.

To start a pet trust, you’ll need to draw up a trust document with the help of an attorney. This trust document:

  • Names the pet(s) you want to cover.
  • Names the caretaker(s).
  • Specifies how the pet(s) should be taken care of.
  • Specifies that your life insurance’s death benefit will be used for pet care and states how much that death benefit is.
  • Names a person who’ll sue the caretaker(s) and enforce the terms of the trust in the event this is needed.
  • Describes how your pet(s) should be taken care of in the event you become incapable of taking care of it before your death.
  • Determines what to do with any funds left over after your pet passes away.

Benefits of Using a Pet Trust to Take Care of Your Pet

There are several distinct advantages to starting a pet trust to take care of your pet. It creates a legal obligation for your chosen caretaker to take care of your pet in the manner you specify. It also ensures accountability for the death benefit. Finally, you can put a caretaking plan in place that takes effect if you become too sick or injured to take care of your pet before your death.

Speak to a Trusted Life Insurance Agent to Get Help Caring for Your Pet

Do you want to make sure your pet is taken care of after your death? You’ll need to work with an attorney to set up a trust, but you should speak with a knowledgeable life insurance agent first. They can explain the details to you and advise you on the specific points you’ll want to discuss with your attorney. Contact us for more information.