Owners cannot leave money to their pets, nor can pets own property. But owners who consider their companions to be integral members of the family can make sure they their pet is properly cared in the event of the owner’s death by creating a pet trust.
Pets tend to have a firm and well-established role within the family. Sometimes, they have full membership. And in my case, my pets think they rule over the humans in the house. In the eyes of the law, however, pets enjoy a far lesser standing. This can make planning for the care of your pet difficult after you’re gone. While you can’t leave an “inheritance” to a pet, when including a “pet trust” as part of your estate plan you can provide for their care when you’re not there to provide it yourself.
“Pet trusts” have a decidedly less serious ring about them than a “Grantor Retained Annuity Trust.” Legal jargon aside, pet trusts can be plenty useful little devices for a common problem, especially amongst elderly pet lovers. In fact, a recent article in the Millionaire Corner considers a pet trust an estate planning basic. The article, titled “Estate Planning Basics: Creating a Pet Trust” offers some practical pointers to consider.
Pets are family members to some, but to the law they are just another form of property. Nonetheless, this living, breathing “property” sometimes outlives its master and this fact of life is worthy of proper legal attention. What happens when there isn’t a family member or friend to step up and take the animal? What if there is a potential caretaker, but that person simply cannot afford to care for your pet? By establishing a pet trust as part of your estate plan, you can set aside funds exclusively for the care of your pet, the caretaker and your own peace of mind.
Setting up a trust doesn’t need to be too difficult, but it does take some preparation and foresight to keep it running efficiently when needed. You’ll want an experience estate planning attorney to create a pet trust as part of your estate plan.
If you would like to create or update your estate plan, call our office today to schedule time for us to talk. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
Reference: Millionaire Corner (April 28, 2014) “Estate Planning Basics: Creating a Pet Trust