What is a pet trust and how does it work?
A pet trust lets pet owners provide a way to care for their pets after the owner dies. Pet trusts, like other trusts, are created when the pet owner transfers property to the trust to own. The pet owner must also select someone to run the trust, called a trustee, and decide how the funds should be used.
Who cares for my pet?
That is up to you. Many people direct that the trustee is there to pay for the pet’s expenses while not actually providing the pet a place to live or caring for it. The trust can direct, for example, that the trustee use trust property to pay for pet care costs while selecting another person to act as caregiver.
How do I create a trust?
California state law allows you to create a pet trust and act as the first trustee. After you die your duties will fall to the trustee and the caregiver who you’ve selected. You can also create a trust through your last will and testament, but you’ll want to speak to your estate planning attorney for details about either method.
How long does it last?
The trust will last for as long as your pet lives. If you have multiple pets, you can care for all of them with the same trust. Once the last pet dies, you can also specify how you want any trust property to be distributed.
To properly establish a pet trust or to make other provisions in your estate plan for your pets, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney whose practice includes pet planning.
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