Life Insurance for Pets: How to Provide For Your Pet After You’re Gone

According to Statista, in 2019, approximately 67 percent of households in the U.S. owned at least one pet. For many of Americans, our furry, feathered, or other kind of family member is just as important as a human family member. So if you’re wondering “Can I name my pet as the beneficiary of my life insurance policy?” you’re not alone.

Can my pet be the beneficiary of my death benefit?

Because your pet doesn’t have the capacity to sign legal documents or open a bank account, you can’t name him as your beneficiary. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take care of your pet after you’ve passed away—you’ll just have to be more creative.

Set up a pet trust states that a strong option for taking care of your pet is to set up a pet trust. This involves creating a trust that has the purpose of taking care of your pet and naming the trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. The person—or organization—you appoint as the trustee will have the legal obligation to ensure the resources in the trust are dedicated to taking care of your pet. Remember to always work with an attorney to make sure the trust is set up according to your wishes.

Name a pet guardian as the beneficiary

Another—albeit less strong option—is to appoint someone as the guardian of your pet and name them as your beneficiary. Again, it’s advisable to work with an attorney to ensure the guardian has a legal obligation to use the death benefit solely to take care of your pet—and not for their own purposes.  

Where to find more information

When you want to leave all or part of your death benefit to your pet, make sure to get solid legal advice from a reputable attorney in your state. You should also check ahead of time with your life insurer how a guardian or trust has to be named in your policy. For more information about communicating with life insurance companies about this issue, please contact us at your convenience.