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Estate Planning – providing for your pet

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-and-cat-togetherMost of us don’t like to think about planning a will and sometimes neglect to do so. Our pets should not be left out and they should be provided for. There are several ways that you could do this. The first is to leave your pet in the care of a friend or family member, then leave that person a specific sum of money to care for your pet.  You must be certain that the person that you’ve chosen to take care of your pet will honor your wishes and use the money specifically for that purpose.  You can also establish a trust for the care of your pet after you’re gone. You name a caregiver who will be responsible for the care of your pet, you also name a trustee that will be in charge of your pet’s money.The money will be used for food, dog or cat accessories and anything else that your pet may need.  You then fund the trust with enough money or property to meet your pets needs during it’s lifetime.  Leave written instructions as to how the pet should be taken care of. This way, the obligations of the caregiver and trustee are legally enforced.

Speak to your estate planning attorney for the best way to make sure that your pets are included in your will. This will give you peace of mind that your pet will not be abandoned or sent to a shelter.

One Response to “Estate Planning – providing for your pet”

  1. In California prior to 2008, benefactors generally could only set up a provision in a Trust or a Will that provided assets to a non-human beneficiary with the stipulation that such funds be used for the specific purpose of caring for a pet. But the problem was that there wasn’t really anything that could be done if the entrusted person who was supposed to take care of the pet decided to take the money and run. In July of 2008 however, California’s Governor Schwarzenegger signed a new law that really gives pet trusts some bite. Under the new law, trusts can be established for the feeding, care, and health of pets while a neutral trustee may be appointed to enforce those intentions. Plus, a newly formed Pet Trust will not terminate for the life of the pet and a court may additionally appoint a person or charitable organization to carry out the intent of the pet trust when necessary. To watch a great video about all of this, click here

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