The new year is often the a time to reflect on the role family and friends play in your life, and to resolve to strengthen those relationships in the coming year. For pet owners, the relationship you have with your furry friend is often just as important as those you have with the people closest to you. That’s why the new year is also a good time to create a tool that will protect your pet should something happen to you.
In California you can create a trust that is specifically designed to protect your pets or other animals, known appropriately as a pet trust. When you create a pet trust you can transfer property that the trust will own, such as money, and then direct that the trust use that property to take care of your pet’s needs after you die. You can also name a trustee who will manage the property, as well as a caretaker who will actually be responsible for caring for the pet’s day-to-day needs and will become the effective new owner.
It’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney to help you create your pet trust. This is especially true if you have multiple animals or if you want to create a trust that will protect multiple generations of pets. The California law only allows a trust to cover the pets that are currently alive at the time you die, so if you want to protect other animals, you may have to take other steps.