Jennifer Solak

Jennifer Solak

When considering how you want to protect your loved ones, it’s important not to forget your non-human family members as well. Texas law allows for people to leave a plan to care for their pets through pet trusts and other estate planning tools. Through a Will or revocable living trust, you can establish provisions for a pet trust to provide for your fur babies until they pass away. You can also establish a pet trust while you are living or include provisions for the care of your pets in a durable power of attorney if you become incapacitated and can no longer care for them yourself. 

Below are a few important considerations when implementing these types of arrangements:

1. Animal’s life expectancy.  You must ensure that you leave enough resources to provide support for the remainder of the animal’s life expectancy. Although cats and dogs have a shorter life span than most humans, other pets, like cockatoos or macaws can live more than 100 years. 

2. Designate a human enforcer. Because animals are unable to enforce the terms of the trust, it’s important to name someone as a Trust “Enforcer,” who has the responsibility to monitor the animal’s care and the proper use of funds. 

3. Provide care details. In the trust, you can be as general or as specific as you like. If your pet likes a particular brand of food and is accustomed to daily park visits, you can state such requirements. You can also provide guidance on the frequency of veterinary or grooming visits as well as your feelings about euthanasia, and the final disposition of your pets (burial or cremation). 

4. Designate a remainder beneficiary. Finally, should any funds remain when your pet passes, you should designate who or what entity should receive any remaining funds.  

To learn more about considerations when planning your estate, please view our video series at or join Solak Legal’s next FREE online event, “10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid,” on Wednesday, July 21st at 12:00 pm. A replay will be provided to all registered participants. Email to register.  

The information in this column, which was sponsored by Solak Legal as part of The Leader Expert Series, is intended to provide a general understanding of the law and not legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances. provides legal advice for families and businesses and may be contacted at or 713-588-5744. 

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