As an important part of our families, pets deserve continuing care in the event of our incapacity or death. The best way to do this is to establish a Pet Trust. Not only for dogs and cats, Trusts may be established under Florida law for all kinds of animal companions, including horses, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, and more.

As a Florida attorney, Kathleen Flammia is also an animal advocate with extensive experience with these unique trusts. If you worry about what will happen to your pet after you become disabled or pass away, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Pet Trust attorney.

Visit the Flammia Elder Law Firm’s Family Education Center to access FREE videos and other helpful information. To discuss the creation of a Pet Trust for your beloved companion, schedule your consultation today. Call (407) 478-8700 or email us.

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Pet Trust FAQs

Under Florida law, a Pet Trust is a legally binding document that ensures that funds are available and a caretaking system is in place. The Trust must be properly drafted by an attorney, because money cannot be left to a pet, but can be left for the care and benefit of the pet.

In the Trust, you name a Trustee (someone who manages the Trust) and a caretaker. The Trustee allocates funds to the caretaker, who physically cares for the pet according to your directions and guidelines stated in the Trust.

In the Trust, you may provide specific directions for health care needs, diet and exercise, preferred veterinarians, and burial or cremation plans. You may still be living, although incapacitated, while your pet lives with the caretaker.

If you have more than one pet, you can direct that the pets live together. A Pet Trust should have sufficient funds to care for your pet for its expected lifetime. Funds could be used for anything needed to maintain your desired standard of living for your pet, such as:

  • Food and treats
  • Shelter
  • Veterinary care
  • Insurance
  • Recreation and toys
  • Travel
  • Boarding
  • Grooming
  • Training

The Trust will stay in effect for the lifetime of your pet. After death, any remaining funds can be distributed to the beneficiaries you select, including charities.

Wills may include provisions for pets but should be supplemented by a Pet Trust.

  • In a Will, your pet will be treated as property to be distributed – and you cannot leave money to property.
  • Specific instructions about your pet in a Will would not be enforceable. For example, a beneficiary may get your house and your dog. Just as that beneficiary may not clean the house once a week, they may not feed, bathe, and walk the dog.
  • Wills can get tied up in lengthy probate and can be contested. A Trust becomes effective immediately, and your pet needs immediate attention.
  • A Will cannot control the disbursement of funds for the pet as a Trust would.
  • A Will is only effective upon your death; it cannot address the pet’s care if you become incapacitated.

Planning for the unexpected is important for everyone—even your pets. Exercise your right under Florida law to protect your pets in your Estate Plan. By having a Pet Trust in place, you can have confidence that your beloved companions will be fully cared for in the manner you care for them now.

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Comprehensive and flexible approach to estate planning. Easy to work with.


Kathleen and her team made the process of setting up our wills very easy! Thanks for giving us great peace of mind!

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