What is a Pet Trust?

When it is time for us to write our will, we include our wishes regarding our property, assets, and even establish guardians and trusts to help ensure our plan is carried out accordingly. However, if you have a pet, you most likely see him or her as part of your family as well. This is why many pet owners seek to establish a trust to ensure their pet will be taken care of, should they become incapacitated or pass on. If you are curious about how to establish a pet trust, here are some of the questions you may have.

What is the significance of a pet trust?

You may create a pet trust within your will, as a part of a revocable living trust, or as a stand-alone trust. You should know that when you name a trustee, he or she is not necessarily the same person who will have the custodial responsibility of your pets, so you must be very specific when creating your trust. Additionally, you should provide instructions regarding your pet’s health care, specific veterinarians, or guidance on burial or cremation, as well as how any remaining funds will be distributed after your pets have died. Hopefully, once you have created your trust, you will go on living stress-free, knowing your pets will be cared for, should you pass on before them.

How do I set up a pet trust?

The first step in creating a pet trust is choosing a trustee. Generally, it is best to select a trustee to manage your finances and a guardian who will care for your pet. Selecting two people allows for each party to check the other, ensuring everything is done in accordance with your wishes. This may be a hard decision to make. When you are a parent, you want your guardian to raise your child similar to how you would, with his or her best interest in mind. Usually, a pet is no different. If you want to ensure your pet will have a safe, loving home after you pass on, interview close friends and family, and decide from there who the best candidate is. 

Once you have selected your guardian and trustee and have informed them of their responsibilities in said positions, you must then draft the official document. First, you must choose between an “Inter Vivos” trust or a testamentary trust. Next, you must determine the amount of care your pets will need. You will have to provide sufficient funds for the remainder of your pet’s life, so you should take that into account. 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 experienced California 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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