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Legal Challenges to Pet Trusts

Seniors and Pet Trusts

If you have a beloved pet, you might consider him family and want to make sure he is cared for even if you pass away before he does. A pet trust is the most effective way to make sure that your pets will receive proper care even after you pass away.

Pet trusts are especially popular for animals with long lifespans that may outlive you. If you bestow a large sum of money for the care of your animals, it's possible someone will challenge the amount after your death. 

Here's what happens if someone legally challenges your pet trust.

What Happens if Someone Challenges a Trust?

Since challenging a trust takes a lot of time, effort, and court time, it's not a very common outcome. Reports show that it's most common for family members to challenge a trust if they have been disinherited. 

In order to challenge a trust or will, a person must prove they have some financial stake in the situation. It isn't enough to feel that the money was distributed unfairly. This generally means proving that you are a would-be beneficiary or closely related to a beneficiary.

To pursue a case, the challenger will need to file a court petition. The court will then reassess the trust and determine if it is legally valid. Moreover, the challenger will need to provide compelling proof.

What Common Challenges Do Pet Trusts Face?

If someone wants to challenge your will and the funds set aside for pet care, they can do so. 

One of the most common tactics people use is arguing that the amount of money in the trust is excessive. That tends to come up most often in cases where the pet owner leaves amounts six figures and higher. The famous Leona Helmsley case, in which a woman left her dog $12 million, is an excellent example. 

Lack of capacity is another common approach. By using this argument, they will suggest that the person who created the trust didn't understand what they were doing or who would be affected by it.

In addition, fraud and undue influence are common challenges to trusts, but they're less common when the beneficiary is an animal. 

Many of these problems can be avoided by hiring a legal professional to handle every step of the trust process. By going through the right channels, you can make sure your pets get excellent food, veterinary care, and grooming.

Choose the Right Orange County Pet Trust Attorney

When doing any kind of estate planning, it is important to find a reliable law firm. Careful drafting and clear writing can prevent the majority of legal issues and challenges to trusts or wills. 

Our legal team works with clients to create documents that are legally sound and sure to stand up in court, even under close scrutiny. To create an Orange County pet trust, 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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