Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Pet Trusts In Ohio

By:  Daniel McGowan, Esq.

Pet trusts in Ohio are created to provide for the care of an animal (dog, cat, chinchilla, ferret, any animal) alive during the settlor’s (the creator of the trust) lifetime.

Ohio Revised Code 5804.08 establishes the ground rules for pet trusts in Ohio and states:

(A) A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.

(B) A person appointed in the terms of a trust or, if no person is so appointed, a person appointed by the court may enforce a trust authorized by this section. A person having an interest in the welfare of an animal that is provided care by a trust authorized by this section may request the court to appoint a person to enforce the trust or to remove a person appointed.

(C) The property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to its intended use, except to the extent the court determines that the value of the trust property exceeds the amount required for the intended use. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, property not required for the intended use must be distributed to the settlor if then living or to the settlor’s successors in interest.

How Does An Ohio Pet Trust Work?

An Ohio pet trust is created by a settlor to provide for the care of a particular animal or animals.  Once the last surviving animal named in the pet trust dies, the trust terminates.

The pet trust has to be funded, so that there are assets to provide for the continued care of the pet.  A trustee must be named in the pet trust.  The trustee will administer the trust, but does not necessarily have to be the caregiver of the animal.

What Terms Should Be Included In An Ohio Pet Trust?

An Ohio probate lawyer can help you determine the exact terms that should be included in a pet trust, but generally, you should:

  • Name a trustee that you trust to administer the trust.
  • Select a caregiver for the pet(s), as well as a backup caregiver.  Make sure you discuss with the caregivers that you have designated them as such and make sure they are willing to serve.
  • Include detailed instructions for your pet, so that your pet can be cared for in the manner you have cared for your pet.
  • Identify any chronic health issues and medications, and identify the veterinarian who cares for your pet.
  • State how the funds in the pet trust should be used.
  • State what you want to happen to your pet(s) upon death.
  • Fund the trust with enough assets to care for your pet for the rest of its projected life.


An Ohio pet trust is one way to make sure that your beloved pet(s) will be taken care of after your passing.  You can also include provisions in your will for the disposition and care of your pet after your death.

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