You can use the WillMaker will to leave your pet to someone you trust. You can also leave money to that person to help with the costs of owning your pet, although your will cannot force the new owner to use the money that way. If you want the new owner to be legally bound to use the money for the care of your pet, you will need a pet trust. (See "Setting up a trust for your pet," below.)
Using a will to provide for your pet is a simple and inexpensive way to make sure your pet has a caring home after your death. It is not the only way to provide for your pet, but most folks find that it makes the most sense.
However, if you plan to leave your entire estate—including your pet—to one person, there is no need to make a separate pet bequest. When you use WillMaker to leave everything to one person, that person will get your pet and can use money from your estate to care for your pet. Separately, you can leave instructions about how to care for your pet; see below.
In addition to naming a new owner for your pet, you may want to leave information and suggestions about your pet's habits and needs. You can use WillMaker's Information for Survivors and Caregivers form for this purpose, which allows you to leave specifics about each animal, including health needs, food and exercise requirements and sleeping habits. You can also use the document to describe memorial plans or final arrangements for your pet.
You can leave your pet money in a trust, managed by a trustee you name. The main advantage to creating a pet trust is that under a pet trust, the person who cares for your pet is legally obligated to follow the instructions you lay out in your trust document. However, for most people, this legal obligation is not necessary because they're confident that the person they name will follow their wishes without a court getting involved. An additional benefit of creating a pet trust is that it can go into effect quickly after death, or even before death if the trust is set up to cover the pet owner's incapacity. If you do want to create a pet trust, you'll need to hire an attorney to be sure the document is properly drafted and valid in your state.
If you're not able to find someone both willing and able to take care of your pet after you die, you're not without options. Programs exist across the country that help assure people that their pets will have a loving home when they can no longer care for them.
If you find an organization that interests you, carefully check its references (and perhaps its history with the Better Business Bureau) to make sure that the organization is likely to still be around when your pet needs it.