The first rule is that you can’t leave money to your pet. Unfortunately, the law says that animals are property, and one piece of property can’t own another. Yahoo’s recent article, “3 Ways to Ensure Your Pet Is Cared For After You Die,” explains that a pet trust is a trust that provides money and care for your pets when you can no longer do so. People usually create a pet trust as part of their estate planning. However, in some cases, it can be helpful if you’re incapacitated or unable to care for your pet.
Like all trusts, a pet trust is a legal entity that owns property, money, and other assets. You fund the trust by contributing assets to it during your lifetime and leaving assets to the trust in your will. Your pet is the beneficiary of this trust. Once the trust is activated, a trustee will use its funds to pay for your pet’s food, housing, and other care. In most cases, this means someone has taken possession of your pet, and the trust reimburses their costs.
If you want to ensure that your pet is well cared for after you die, most experienced estate planning attorneys consider a pet trust better than a will. Pet trusts are more specific than leaving your pet and some money to an heir. A trustee must be sure this money is spent on your pet’s well-being. They can also find a new home for your pet if your heir changes their mind and chooses not to inherit the animal.
A pet trust does two main things. First, it provides the resources to care for your pets and other animals once you no longer can. Second, it provides the instructions to make sure those pets are cared for the right way.
Funding a pet trust can be an issue for some, and if you leave too little money in the trust, it will run out during your pet’s lifetime. If that happens, the trust will wind up, and state law will govern what happens to your pet. If you leave too much money, your family may challenge the trust. While that’s pretty rare, courts will reduce excessive funds left to a pet trust.
Don’t just assume that someone will assume the role of trustee. And don’t assume that someone will want to take possession of your pet. Ask the people you intend to name for those positions. If someone you trust wants to take your pet after you die, you can name them as both caretaker and trustee. Otherwise, you may want to name a professional trustee, such as a lawyer or banker, to oversee the trust. If you do name a professional trustee, make sure to contribute enough money to cover their costs, as they will bill the trust for their time.
If your pet has any specific needs, detail these in the trust. However, be careful not to get too specific, or people may disregard your instructions, creating issues.
If you need help with a pet trust or a living trust, we are here to help! Contact The Werner Law Firm probate attorneys in Los Angeles for a free consultation!
If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.
You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.
Reference: Yahoo (Aug. 21, 2022) “3 Ways to Ensure Your Pet Is Cared For After You Die”
Founded in 1975 by L. Rob Werner and serving California for over 48 years, our dedicated attorneys are available for clients, friends, and family members to receive the legal help they need and deserve. You can trust in our experience and reputation to help navigate you through your unique legal matters.
Whether you need help creating a living trust or navigating probate, our living trust law firm's compassionate team of estate planning lawyers and probate lawyers are here to help you and ready to answer your questions.
Our goal is to make your case as easy as possible for you. Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. From the moment you contact our firm, through the final resolution of your case, our goal is to make the process easy and understandable. We cannot change the fact that probate is a long and complicated process, but through our Werner Law Firm Difference, we strive to go out of our way to keep you informed of your case through every step of the way. We are constantly refining our processes and procedures for a more streamlined and calm client experience. Our goal is to have you feel like a burden was lifted from your shoulders, and that we made the whole process an easy one
If you're dealing with a legal matter, we urge you to schedule a free initial appointment today and join the many satisfied clients who have contacted Werner Law Firm.
23 Corporate Plaza Dr., Suite 150
Newport Beach, California 92660