Pet Trusts - Pet Guardianships

Have you considered what would happen to Fluffy, Fido or Polly upon your death or disability?

Pet trusts provide for a Trustee who will hold money in trust for the benefit of the Grantorís animals and a Caregiver who will receive regular payments to care for your pet.

A pet trust is a legal document that will:

Provide a source of funds for your petís care;
Inform a future caregiver or guardian of your instructions, likes, dislikes, routines and desires;
Ensure that your petís caregiver is pre-selected by you, the Grantor after careful thought; and
Provide instructions regarding cremation or burial

Pet Trusts Ė FAQ

  What happens to my animals if I die without a pet trust?
  Under California law, animals are considered property and are subject to distribution like all other personal property. Without a plan, your companion animal may end up with a relative or in a shelter.

  Is it possible to leave money to my pet upon my death?
  No. Under California law, animals cannot inherit property.That is one important reason that many responsible pet owners establish pet trusts.

  Are pet trusts expensive?
  No. Most experienced estate planning attorneys will take about one or two hours to gather the necessary information and prepare the pet trust.

  How much money do I need to fund my pet trust?
  We can help you determine the amount after a consultation. These are some of the factors to be considered:
1. Number of pets and their ages;
2. The types of animals and their life expectancies;
3. The standard of care requested;
4. The need for potentially expensive medical treatment; and
5. Whether the trustee is to be compensated

  Can I fund a pet trust with life insurance proceeds?
  Absolutely. This is quite common and is easily accomplished in most situations.

  Should I name an alternative caretaker?
  Yes. At least one alternate should be named if at all possible.

  What type of instructions should be included?
  Some things to consider:
  • Medical care including the preferred veterinarian
  • Toys
  • Food and diet
  • Cages
  • Daily exercise and routine
  • Compensation, if any, for the caregiver
  • Accounting requirements for the caregiver
  • How the trustee is to monitor the caregiver
  • Cremation, burial, memorial

      Who should be the trustee for my pet trust?
      A trusted individual who will monitor the caregiver and make certain that your pet is receiving the quality care he or she deserves. Another alternative is a corporate trustee. If you need assistance on selecting a corporate trustee, please contact us.

      Does your firm offer estate planning services for people?
      Of course. Please call us to help with a living trust, pour-over will and other ancillary documents required for a comprehensive estate plan.

      Who should receive a copy of my pet trust?
      The following;
  • Your veterinarian
  • The caregiver
  • The trustee of the pet trust
  • Your estate planning attorney

      What happens to the money remaining in my pet trust when my pet dies?
      The money will be given to a Remainder Beneficiary who is generally someone other than the caregiver. Sometimes pet owners select a rescue organization or other charity as the Remainder Beneficiary.

      How do I get started in forming a pet trust?
      Start by completing The Pet Trust Data Form

    Be prepared. Make a plan today for the pet you love.

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