Pets in Wills (United States)

Animal law constitutes one of the fastest-growing "new" legal specialties. Ensuring that pets are properly cared for following the death of owners/persons in charge is one of the areas addressed by legal specialists of animal law.

Consider, for example, a case where a man with several horses died without a will. Authorities were faced with providing for the horses, some of which had special requirements. Despite the fact that animals are legally classified as property which can be bequeathed, issues may arise concerning the maintenance and ongoing care of laws "special property". There are legal instruments which may address these circumstances however. Forty-six states in the United States reportedly have legal provisions which enable the establishment of pet trusts. Provided that these trusts are properly established, the pet trusts have the benefit of being stronger and more specific regarding ongoing care requirements of animals.