How Can I Include a Pet in my California Estate Plan?

When people create a will, they do so with the intent to protect their loved ones in mind. While this generally means family members and close friends, it is important to not forget pets. Many people consider their pets to be a member of their family. That is why people want their pets to be taken care of and protected in the event that they become incapacitated or pass away. This can be done with a pet trust. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced California estate planning attorney for assistance.

What is a Pet Trust?

A pet trust can be created within your will, as part of a revocable living trust, or a stand-alone trust. When naming a trustee, it is important to keep in mind that they may not necessarily be the same person who has custodial responsibility of the pet. It is because of this that you should be very specific when creating the pet trust and include instructions regarding it’s health care, veterinarians, burial, and how remaining funds should be distributed upon the pet’s eventual death.  

How is a Pet Trust Set Up?

When creating a pet trust, the first step is to choose a trustee. It is best to select one trustee to manage the finances and a separate guardian to care for the pet. This allows two people to look after one another and ensure everything is done in accordance with your wishes. This is not always an easy decision, as you want to ensure your pet is in a safe and loving home when you are no longer around to care for them yourself. 

One the guardian and trustee are selected, be sure they are informed of their responsibilities. You must then draft the official document by choosing between an inter vivos trust or testamentary trust. Within this document, you must determine the care your pets will need. This includes allocating sufficient funds for the remainder of the pet’s life. You may also want to decide on a backup trustee or guardian, just in case. Ultimately, consulting with a knowledgeable pet trust attorney can help you attain the peace of mind you need, knowing your pets will have a good home after you’re gone.

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most.Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.

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