How Does a Pet Trust Work?

Setting up a pet trust

If you're interested in estate planning and preparing for the future, you're likely familiar with traditional trusts. But have you heard about pet trust?  Setting up a pet trust is an excellent way to make sure your pets will be cared for when you are unable to care for them yourself.

Pet trusts set aside money that is designated for your pets' expenses, such as food, medical care, and other necessities. It may even include pet outfits—depending on the terms of your trust.

If you're not familiar with the concept, it may sound strange, but it's one of the best ways to make sure your furbabies will live a long, comfortable life. Here's how a pet trust in California can protect your beloved pets.

Definition and Examples of Pet Trust

As a pet owner, you may be concerned about what would happen to your furbabies if you were to become incapacitated or pass away. You can set one or more animals as the beneficiaries of a trust designed specifically for their care.

A pet trust allows you to leave money or even property for the care of any living animal. All of their needs will be covered by the trust—from food to grooming. Property can be useful for large animals that need a lot of space, like horses.

A pet trust works by assigning a caregiver who will feed and otherwise be responsible for your animals. The trust stays in effect until the last surviving animal covered by the trust passes away, or until it runs out of money.

For example, you can require that your pooch be taken to the vet on a monthly basis, or that they get three vet visits a year, and two visits to the park per week. If they have special medical needs, you can also mention any medications or medical equipment they need.

These loved and lucky pooches will enjoy all of the things they enjoyed when you were able to care for them.

Why You Should Get a Pet Trust?

Devoted pet owners often treat their pets like family members. Whether you have a cat, a dog, or an exotic pet, this type of trust will make sure that your animal friend gets the care it deserves.

A pet trust creates a legally enforceable arrangement that ensures that someone will take care of your pet to your satisfaction when you are unable to do so yourself. This includes becoming incapacitated, death, and any other situation where you cannot take care of your pets on your own.

It can also be thought of as a pet protection agreement. Your family members may not be ready to take on your cats or favorite dog, despite their good intentions. That's why it makes sense to create a trust to handle your pet animals instead, to avoid imposing on family members.

Some pets have a long life expectancy, such as turtles, birds, and lizards. If your pet falls into this category, it's more important than ever to create a trust that will support it.

Remember that a pet trust is a legal instrument that can be used to benefit your animal friends. In order to make it as effective as possible, it's a good idea to get personalized legal advice. If you're planning to set up a trust for your animals, you'll want to search for a pet trust lawyer in California.

Setting Up a Pet Trust

A California pet trust attorney can help you draft a trust that communicates all of your pet's care requirements clearly. An estate planning attorney can handle the legal details to ensure that the pet trust created is legally valid and matches your requests.

Every trust needs a trustee, and that person will be responsible for disbursing money regularly to your chosen pet guardian. The trust protector may also visit your pet to make sure the conditions are being carried out properly. If there is misuse of funds, the protector may take the control  of the trust fund and find another guardian instead.

It's important to write down every detail of your pet's needs because your pet's caregiver will rely on your instructions to carry out your wishes. This person will handle all the day-to-day care, such as feedings and visits to the park.

Since a California pet trust stays in place until your pet passes on, you'll want to ensure that it includes enough money. To make sure of this, you can spend time calculating the average cost of your pet's care so you can put away enough funds. That way, you can allocate a reasonable amount into your pet trust to ensure many years of care.

Funding a Pet Trust

If you want to make sure your furbabies will continue living a comfortable long life, you'll need to transfer funds to their designated trust. A living trust is a great way to make sure that your pets will have all the resources they need.

In a living trust, your trustee will manage your assets for your beneficiaries' benefit.  A trustee will manage the money in the account and make disbursements on a regular schedule or as needed. In the case of an emergency, like a vet visit, the caregiver may request additional funds.

It's generally a good idea to decide what you want to happen to any surplus money or assets remaining in the trust. You can assign the remainder to go to your children, the pet's caretaker, or anyone else.

Our legal team can handle all of your estate planning needs. Our law firm works with clients on a wide range of cases, from pet trusts to living wills. We understand how important pet care is, and we gladly create pet trusts that will keep your furry families happy and cared for long after your death.

To schedule a consultation and learn more about our services, contact us at 949-867-4818 at Parker Law Offices today!

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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