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Can I Include My Pet as Part of My Estate Plan?

In the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated or pass way, ensuring the safety and well-being of your pet is an important consideration. Maryland law considers pets “property” and are treated as such, which is why many pet owners choose to create a pet trust.


A pet trust enables you to designate a person or an organization to act as your pet’s guardian. There are several things to consider when creating a pet trust: 


1. Choose an appropriate guardian. Ensuring the safety and care of your pet is of primary importance, so you should choose a guardian who is willing and able to care for your pet for the duration of its life.


2. Get consent. Be sure to get consent from your pet’s guardian so that the transition is as smooth as possible.


3. Consider funding your pet trust. While you may have a guardian in mind who is willing to take on the financial responsibility of pet ownership, you should consider funding the trust to help the guardian with food and veterinary visits.


4. Provide your pet’s guardian with a copy of the trust. This may be necessary if an unexpected event renders you incapacitated. The trust will ensure that your guardian can take over the protection of your pet immediately.


For a free, confidential conversation to discuss estate planning, including creating a pet trust, contact Maryland estate attorney Stephen J. Reichert at 410-299-4959 or


Stephen looks forward to assisting you with your Maryland estate planning needs.


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