As a dog owner, I understand that we consider our Pets to be members of our family, and as such we assume that our family and friends will care for them when we are gone. Unfortunately, pets are considered to be property therefore they cannot inherit funds or be cared for through the use of a will. Oftentimes estate plans do not take our pets into consideration and therefore there is no one who has been designated to care for them when we are no longer here.
According to the ASPCA, only about 17% of dog and cat owners have taken the necessary legal steps to ensure their pets are cared for after they die. Sadly many pets that outlive their owners wind up in shelters because no formal provisions have been made for them and many of those pets are euthanized as they are older or may have medical conditions so that they are not adopted.
CALIFORNIA PET TRUSTS
California has enacted laws that allow pet owners to provide for their pets through the creation of a trust specifically designated for their pets. We assist our clients in designing trusts that go into effect if they become incapacitated and unable to care for their pet or to take effect upon their death. We work with our clients to design a plan which ensures proper checks and balances are in place. There are times where a person wishes to name one person to serve as a trustee handling money to be used for the care of their pet and a different person to provide for the day-to-day care of your pet.
We insure that all pet trusts are detailed such that the owner can provide instructions on l exactly how their pet is to be cared for. We can designate a vet, groomer, food and special medical needs that will require special attention. We also provide a means to address the frequency of any visits to their groomer or vet. We assist our clients in determining the appropriate amount of funding to cover the life span of their pets and what should happen to any leftover funds.
We insure that the pet trusts are incorporated into and referred to in any living trust or will established by our clients and assist our clients in coming up with detailed instructions for their trustees and/or caregivers. We understand that your pet is a part of the family and want to make sure that whoever you trust to care for your pet when you’re no longer able will treat them as a family member too.