In May of this year, CNN reported the sad and tragic story of a Virginia woman, who stated in her Will that she wanted her pet Shih Tzu, Emma, to be buried with her. When the woman passed away, her dog was taken to a shelter and subsequently euthanized, cremated, and returned to her estate for burial.
While we may never understand the woman’s true motivations, it’s heartbreaking to think that she may not have known that pet lovers have other options to plan for their animal’s future.
Under California Probate Code Section 15212, you can create a trust for your pet to ensure that he or she can live a happy health life, even in your absence. Animal Care Trusts provide long-term financial support for your pets, so that they can be cared for in the way you would want, by a caregiver who you have chosen.
What is a Pet Trust?
- A trust is a legal entity that you create to hold your assets. It includes specific instructions on how to distribute those assets after your death.
A Pet Trust allows you to set specific standards of care for your pet as terms of the trust, so that the Caregiver can provide a similar quality of life to the one that your pet enjoyed in your home. You can also designate individuals to check up on your pet periodically, to make sure that your money is being properly spent and your pet is getting the love and attention he or she deserves.
- You will choose a trustee to manage the money in the trust. This person will make sure that the money is being distributed to care for your pet according to your wishes.
- You will also choose a caregiver, who will take custody of your pet and care for him or her on an everyday basis.
The founding attorney of LifeLadder Estate Planning is an animal lover and is happy to offer a Pet Trust as a complimentary addition to any comprehensive estate plan package.
Start planning your pet's future care by downloading our Pet Trust Worksheet.