San Diego

Pet Trust Attorney

When planning for the future, you have to be sure you don’t forget about an important member of the family — your pet.

⅔ of American households have pets, but very few of them have a plan in place for what will happen to their pet when they die. This is especially important for families with animals who have longer lifespans — such as horses, birds, and turtles — but as with regular estate planning, it’s good to be prepared for anything.

So what can you do to make sure Fido or Nemo will be treated with care after you’re gone? Set up a pet trust.

CALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATIONCALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

When planning for the future, you have to be sure you don’t forget about an important member of the family — your pet.

⅔ of American households have pets, but very few of them have a plan in place for what will happen to their pet when they die. This is especially important for families with animals who have longer lifespans — such as horses, birds, and turtles — but as with regular estate planning, it’s good to be prepared for anything.

So what can you do to make sure Fido or Nemo will be treated with care after you’re gone? Set up a pet trust.

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is really very similar to a trust set up for your other beneficiaries -- to have the ability to manage your affairs during your lifetime and have a say in how they will be handled after your death.

The California State Legislature passed Probate Code 15212 in 2009, providing a legal way for people to set up care for their pets after their death via a trust. The assets in this trust can only be used for the benefit of your pet.

Contrary to popular belief, informal arrangements you make regarding your pet before your death are typically not legally defensible. This includes simply adding your pet to your will. If you don’t have a designated trust and care instructions, the next owner of your pet will be the one to make all decisions regarding your pet, regardless of your wishes.

In the case of a pet trust, it should clearly outline your wishes regarding:

  • Who will take care of your pet after you’re gone (caretaker) OR adoption arrangements with a specified new owner or pet organization
  • Fiduciary requirements for the pet (how much money should be allotted for various types of care)
  • Third-party trustee who will disperse the funds to the new caretaker
  • Frequently-updated care instructions with information about:
    • Food restrictions and preferences
    • Medical information
    • Emergency contacts
    • Any quirks your pet has
    • Any other information you’d want someone to know
  • Who will take care of your pet after you’re gone (caretaker) OR adoption arrangements with a specified new owner or pet organization
  • Fiduciary requirements for the pet (how much money should be allotted for various types of care)
  • Third-party trustee who will disperse the funds to the new caretaker
  • Frequently-updated care instructions with information about:
    • Food restrictions and preferences
    • Medical information
    • Emergency contacts
    • Any quirks your pet has
    • Any other information you’d want someone to know

In many instances, it’s also important to outline a back-up caretaker, in case the original caretaker you name is incapable of caring for your furry (or scaly) friend.

CALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

What else should I know?

When a pet’s owner dies, the pet not only deals with immediate issues such as hunger, but also more psychological issues such as stress, loneliness, and grief. Without providing proper care instructions for your pet, they could end up with someone you don’t want taking care of them, or sent to a shelter, in which during a worst case scenario they could be euthanized.

Durable Power of Attorney

Setting up a trust protects your pet from these dangers, and setting up a Durable Power of Attorney for your pet allows you to provide similar instructions and information if you become incapacitated or even go on vacation. (Alternatively, you can also include provisions for your pet in your own Durable Power of Attorney in some situations.)

A Wallet Card

A temporary solution while you are setting up your pet trust is to include a card in your wallet that lets people know you have a pet at home in case of an emergency. Like the care instructions for a trust, this information should include basic food and medical information, emergency contacts, and any other information about quirks or preferences your pet has.

Finances

It can be difficult to plan for how much money to include in your pet’s trust. The best way to try to calculate how much money to leave is to estimate the budget for your pet’s current needs (food, grooming, medical care, etc.) and multiply that by your pet’s likely remaining lifespan. Your trust should also include instructions on what to do with any remaining money leftover after your pet, too, has passed away.

Durable Power of Attorney

Setting up a trust protects your pet from these dangers, and setting up a Durable Power of Attorney for your pet allows you to provide similar instructions and information if you become incapacitated or even go on vacation.

(Alternatively, you can also include provisions for your pet in your own Durable Power of Attorney in some situations.)

A Wallet Card

A temporary solution while you are setting up your pet trust is to include a card in your wallet that lets people know you have a pet at home in case of an emergency.

Like the care instructions for a trust, this information should include basic food and medical information, emergency contacts, and any other information about quirks or preferences your pet has.

Finances

It can be difficult to plan for how much money to include in your pet’s trust. The best way to try to calculate how much money to leave is to estimate the budget for your pet’s current needs (food, grooming, medical care, etc.) and multiply that by your pet’s likely remaining lifespan.

Your trust should also include instructions on what to do with any remaining money leftover after your pet, too, has passed away.

Contact Jennifer Reardon to get started on your San Diego pet trust today

With a sweet fur-baby of her own, Jennifer Reardon knows the importance of making sure your pet is taken care of. She will work with you to ensure that every detail is taken into consideration to give your pet the love they deserve after you’re gone.

Contact the Reardon Law Firm today to get started.

CALL 619-930-9420 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

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