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Establishing a trust to care for your pet

Have you ever read about someone who left their entire estate to their cat and thought, “I could see doing that?” It’s not a sign that you have lost it, not at all. Many pet owners want to be sure that their pets are properly taken care of when they are gone. Peace of mind the most important part of any estate planning, and we all want to be sure that our loved ones are cared for.

This is especially critical for horses. Any owner can tell you how much love these herd animals need and how expensive their care can be. Making sure that they are taken care of when you are gone is an important part of any estate plan for pets of all sizes.

California law supports it

State law allows for the creation of a trust for designated domestic animals  for their life. The trust is automatically dissolved when they pass, so determining what comes after is an important decision as well.

The most important part of it is determining who will carry out the trust for your pet and provide the care and love that you expect. A trust is a legally binding arrangement that can be enforced by law. In it, you specify the funds to be set up and the executor who will provide the care for your fur children after you are gone.

Things to consider

Setting up a trust for your pet as part of your estate is simple, but should include everything. Considerations for your pet’s trust include:

Specific names and identification, as much as possible, with the understanding that if something happens to you some of them may have passed on before you or there may be additions

  • The name(s) of those who will be executors of the trust and providing care
  • The standards of care and housing that are required for the animals, with as much detail as reasonable
  • How the trust is to be dissolved, and where any leftover funds go, when your animals pass
  • Final resting instructions for this side of the Rainbow Bridge

You can specify as much detail as you want in your pet trust to be sure that they are well taken care of. You can set aside as much money as you want for this trust, but all trusts under $40,000 require no reporting and will be easier to manage.

Set up your pet trust

A pet trust is an important part of estate planning for an animal lover who wants to be sure that everyone is taken care of when they are gone. If you need to set this up for your own peace of mind, talk to an experienced estate planning attorney who understands these issues. Loving your animals and wanting to make sure that they are taken care of is important for all of us who love our animals, and you have so many good reasons to want to be sure it is set up properly.

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