In typical attorney-speak, yes and no. Americans love their pets. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2011 Americans cared for 218 million pets and spent approximately $61 billion on them. Some of them may be exotic, and many even be quite valuable, commanding show awards, winnings and large stud fees.
Pets and animals cannot own property and any gift left to them in a Will lapses -- meaning it fails. So no, a pet cannot be named a beneficiary under a Will.
However, Pennsylvania law does allow money to be kept in trust for the care of a pet upon your death and since 2006 the Pennsylvania Probate, Estates and Fiduciary Code expressly permits pet trust creation in 20 Pa. C.S. Section 7738. The trusts may be small, to ensure the care of your pet, or more substantial for large veterinary bills and care of the pet's remains upon the pet's death.
The planning for the care of your animals should be discussed with your lawyer as part of your overall estate plan.
The experienced estate planning and elder law attorney Scott M. Amori would be happy to discuss your estate planning and will drafting. Call Amori & Associates for a no obligation consultation at (570) 421-1406.