Pet Trusts Lawyers
In Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, and throughout Southern California, we love our pets. We take them shopping with us, we take them when we get coffee, we make sure they have food before we do, and we treat them like our family (sometimes we treat even better than we treat our human family members and maybe even like our pets a bit more too).
What is sometimes over-looked by pet owners is what happens to their pets in the event that they become incapacitated or die while the pet is still alive. Sure, a family member or friend may take the pet in, but there are no guarantees. That is why it is important to keep those furry (or furless) friends in mind when setting us your Estate Plan. Wanting to provide for your pet or pets does not make you eccentric or lavish, it makes you human, caring, compassionate, thoughtful, and loving.
By establishing a Pet Trust (either stand-alone or as part of a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust), you can ensure that there are assets set aside that can be used only for the benefit of your pet or pets and that those assets will be used to benefit your pet or pets until they have passed on. A Pet Trust will give you the peace of mind that the members of your family that cannot protect themselves are protected, and when you can no longer protect them physically.
The important issues to think about when considering establishing a Pet Trust are:
- How much money should be set aside from your final estate for the future care of your pet or pets?
- Think about how much your pet needs on a monthly basis and multiply that by anticipated remaining lifespan for each pet. It is also a good idea to set aside funds to pay the Successor Pet Caretaker (either monthly or otherwise) if they honor your wishes and properly care for your pet or pets.
- Who will you nominate as Caretaker that is willing to be responsible for the care of your pet or pets?
- California’s Pet Trusts are “honorary” trusts, so the person you nominate as your Successor Pet Caretaker has no legal obligation to care for your pet or pets, so this is an important decision. You will be identifying the health needs, routine, and care each pet needs for your Successor Pet Caretaker (as you will be the initial Pet Caretaker).
- If you do not have someone to act as Pet Caretaker or the nominated person refuses, your Pet Trust can:
- Give the authority to the Trustee or your personal representative to oversee the adoption of the pet or pets by a caring third party.
- Provide for appointment of a professional fiduciary or charitable organization involved with caring for pets to oversee the care or adoption of your pet or pets. This may include making assets available to pay the person adopting your pet or pets a specified sum of money for providing proper care, with the Trustee monitoring the quality of the care and overseeing payment to the adopting party.
- Who will you nominate as Trustee of the Pet Trust’s assets?
- The Trustee manages the assets of the Pet Trust, which creates an independent system for the care of your pet or pets and the administration of the Pet Trust’s assets.
- Do you want any other measures taken to ensure proper administration of the Pet Trust’s assets?
- By setting up a continuing trust, you can direct the Trustee to pay the new owner, fiduciary, or charity on an ongoing basis for routine care and maintenance of the pet or pets. Whatever assets remain after the death of all pets covered by the Pet Trust gets distributed as you direct.
All current or former pet owners ourselves, the attorneys at MNB understand the importance of pets and the meaning that pets have to a person and their family unit. Our pet trust attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you plan for the security, comfort, and stability of your pet or pets, and to assure yourself that those members of your family that cannot speak up for or defend themselves remain protected in the event of your death or incapacity.