• Troyer & Good, PC

Why You Can’t Leave Money to Your Pet

Updated: Mar 19, 2019



Many people view their pets as their family members. It’s only natural, then, that they would want their pets cared for after they die. Some people try to leave money or property to their pet. However, the law views pets as property, not people. Property cannot own another piece of property, only people can. Because a pet cannot own property, it cannot be named as a beneficiary in your Will.


If you do name your pet as a beneficiary, the property you tried to leave it will probably go to the alternate beneficiary. If there is no alternate named, then the property will go to the residuary beneficiary (the person named to receive everything left over from your estate). If there is no residuary beneficiary named, then the property will probably be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.


In all likelihood, your pet will not receive anything and the result will not be what you intended. However, there are legally valid ways to make sure that your pet receives proper care after you die. For example, you can leave your pet to someone in your Will that you trust will take care of it. Also, you can set up a trust with money to care for your pet.

Fort Wayne, Indiana attorneys offering services in estate planning, Wills, Trusts, estate and trust administration, probate, elder law, Medicaid, asset protection, and guardianship.

​© 2020 by Madyson Shannon