Who doesn’t love and adore their pet? With most households having a pet, pets become members of the family. After your death, you can ensure that your pet it cared for in a manner you feel is appropriate. Attorney Van Smith and his colleagues at Smith Strong, PLC have much experience in establishing Virginia pet trusts for your beloved animal. This trust will guarantee and provide for your pet, years after your life has ended.

Virginia Code Allows for Pet Trusts

Under Virginia Code § 64.2-726 allows for the creation of pet trusts. A pet trust requires:

  • A named caregiver
  • Money set aside specifically for your pet
  • An outlined care plan, and
  • A formalized agreement

Choosing a Caregiver for Pet Trust

It is important to choose someone as the caregiver for your Virginia pet trust who is willing, capable, and responsible enough to provide for your pet’s long term care. It is also a good idea to name a contingent caregiver in the event the first caregiver is either unable or unwilling to serve as caregiver.


You can set aside a certain amount of money for your pet in the creation of your pet trust. Attorney Van Smith can help you calculate the expected amount needed for the care of your pet, based on a variety of factors.

Outlined Care Plan

The attorneys at Smith Strong can also help you formalize an agreement that outlines a specific care plan, including all of your wants and needs for the pet’s care. This will ensure that your pet is provided for after your death. 

Smith Strong, PLC has much experience in creating pet trusts. Gone are the days when only movie stars and the rich and famous could create a trust to care for their pets. You can create one, too, with the help of Attorney Van Smith and his colleagues. 


Special thanks to co-author and fellow researcher, Hayden-Anne Breedlove for her contribution with this article. Hayden-Anne Breedlove anticipates graduating from the University of Richmond School of Law in May of 2019.

H. Van Smith
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