Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

Pet Trusts for Washington State

Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

Premiere Pet Trust Planning Law Firm


Pet Trusts for Washington StatePet Trust ClientPet Trust for cats

At the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC, we are proud to be the premiere law firm concerning pet trusts and estate planning. We are a family-owned, multi-generational law firm that has been here for you for the past 31 years.

Pets are family. Estate planning for the furry members of your family is just as important as planning for other important people in your life.

With companion animals, you take care of them. They take care of you. But, who takes care of them when you are gone or physically no longer able? Pet insurance only takes care of their health needs. Pet Trusts take care of all of your pet’s needs.

Pet Trusts are an excellent way to ensure your furry family members will be taken care of in the future.

In 2001, the state legislature of Washington enacted RCW 11.118 et. seq. which formally legalized estate planning for pets.  Here are a few things you need to know about Pet Trusts before calling our firm to schedule your free initial consultation to take care of your estate planning goals:

Can the Washington Animal Trust be used for all pets? Answer: Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” But, the statute does apply to most pets.

RCW 11.118.010 defines an “animal” as a “nonhuman animal with vertebrae.”

So, if your pet is a “nonhuman animal with a vertebrae” (i.e. dogs, cats, horses, birds, turtles etc.) then we can handle the estate plan for you and your pets.

Pet Trusts in Washington State apply to “most” types of pets but not all.

Can I designate who is to take care of my pets?

That is the purpose of the trust: To make sure your pets are cared for by the person you choose.

Can the money in the trust be used for my pet’s veterinary, grooming and health expenses?

Any expenses associated with the future health, care, feeding and the housing of your pets can be paid by your trust.

Who watches out for my pet to make sure the money is spent only for my pet’s care and not some other expense?

We get this question a lot. The way our firm handles this issue is by designating a primary caretaker of the pet PLUS requiring the primary caretaker to provide an accounting of the income and expenses to the financial Trustee of your Trust for Your Estate Plan as well as provide the accounting to a designated back-up custodian known as a Trust Protector for enforcement purposes.


Can money in the Pet Trust be used to compensate the designated primary caretaker of my pets? The Primary Caretaker is entitled to reasonable compensation for taking care of your pets.


How Do I fund the Pet Trust? There are many ways you can provide money to your pet trust. You can fund it with cash in a bank account while you are alive. You can designate all or part of your retirement account or life insurance proceeds upon your death to the Pet Trust. You can also fund the Pet Trust from the sale of real estate, stock and/or automobiles. The key is to make sure in your overall estate plan that you designate funds to be used for your pet’s care.

5 Reasons Why We Are Your Best Choice:

  1. Experience: Over the past 31 years, our firm has helped over 5,000 clients with their estate planning needs. Christopher A. Benson is rated as “10.0” by among all lawyers in the United States. We have worked hard for many years to achieve that level of excellence and we are very proud of our national rating.
  2. Great Customer Service: Our clients love working with us. Please look at our Customer Reviews page.
  3. The Initial Consultation With Our Firm Is FREE! Therefore, it costs you nothing to find out your options and you can do it from the convenience of your home.
  4. Convenience: Chris is admitted to practice law in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Arizona. The Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson offers you the option to meet with Chris by Zoom or in person in our Federal Way office. For your convenience, we offer options to get your estate planning done without leaving your house.
  5. Download Our Estate Planning Book. We provide you with a lot of free information and videos on our website so that you can learn about Estate Planning. Chris wrote a book on estate planning that you can download for free. To download the book, go to our website Home page and click the link for “Living Trust & Estate Planning Free Download.”

Click this link for our main estate planning web page.

Click this link to Contact Our Law Firm.

Christopher A. Benson, Esq.

(253) 815-6940