Do I have to probate the dog?

In Florida Probate Tips by Long


I don’t get a whole lot of questions about probating Sparky or Mr. Wigglesworth but make no mistake, pets are considered personal property and theoretically could be subject to probate. Certainly Florida probate courts have encountered animals in probate, but domestic house pets are often overlooked.

The thing about pets, particularly dogs or cats, is that while animal registration is indicative of ownership, there isn’t a whole heck of alot of regulation regarding the sale or transfer of pets.  Ever buy a puppy from a breeder without papers?  You probably didn’t go out of your way to “title” the little bugger did you?

Unless the decedent had a prize winning line of Weimaraners and there’s a fight over who inherits the next litter, it’s unlikely probate would serve any real purpose.

As a dog lover myself, I hope that many of you are making arrangements, informal or otherwise, for the care of your pets in the event of your disability or death.

On the other hand, if you encounter pets of a decedent, please do everything in your power to find a suitable home.  If you can’t, please call the local branch of the Florida Humane Society.