We live lives wrought with uncertainty, but there is one thing that you can usually count on: if you leave someone an inheritance, they will gratefully accept it. Your estate is comprised of the things that you have accumulated throughout your life that are of value to you, and when you bequeath these valuables to those that you care about they generally consider it to be an honor.
However, there are a very limited number of things that you own that may not be universally embraced upon your passing, and your pets would be among them.
If you are fortunate enough to have some loving animal companions around the house, you need to ask yourself how they will be provided for in the event of your passing. One of your options is to name a caregiver in your will and leave this person enough money to take care of the pet for the rest of its life. Of course it is best to identify someone who is already familiar with the pet who would enjoy the company. It is also a good idea to name a backup caretaker in case something was to happen to your primary choice.
Another route that can be taken in some states is to set up a pet trust as a way to provide for the ongoing care of the animal. You fund the trust sufficiently and name the person who will act as the caretaker. You also appoint a trustee to manage the funds and monitor the caretaker to make sure that the pet is being tended to properly.
If you are in a position where you don’t know anyone who would be an appropriate and willing caretaker, you may have recourse. You can sometimes contact an animal shelter or placement facility and arrange for one of them to take possession of the pets upon your passing and find homes for them. In return, you make the commitment to provide this charity with a bequest from your estate.