Worried about your pet's future: Consider a pet trust

Discover how a pet trust can allow you to care for your pet even after your death. Learn about the legal aspects of these trusts.

A pet becomes part of the family, and as such, most people want to ensure their pet receives the proper care even when they are no longer there to provide it. This has led many people to include provisions in wills and other estate documents in California that offer care for a pet after the owner dies. However, some of these steps end up not being enforceable by law. This is where a pet trust comes in.

Origins of the pet trust

The American Veterinary Medical Association explains that, in general, state laws consider pets as property. As property, pets are unable to benefit from a trust. With a push from the public, though, states began each enacting their own laws about pet trusts. These trusts recognize that pets are living beings who require care and attention. The basis for pet trusts came from the Uniform Probate Code in 1990. All states have pet trust provisions.

The details of a pet trust

The basic idea of a trust for a pet is to provide money for its care. In creating the trust, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explains that a person becomes the trustor. The trustor will set the guidelines and details of the trust, along with deciding who will be the pet's caregiver, how much money the caregiver will get and how often he or she will get the money. The trustor can also provide information about how to care for the pet, including what should happen when the pet passes away. Many people also include personal details, such as the pet's likes and dislikes, habits and other details about its personality.

The trustor will also need to name the person who will manage the trust funds, which is a trustee. The trustee will have the responsibility of giving the money to the caregiver in the manner the trustor decides and also managing the money that remains in the trust. The trustor may also dictate that the trustee needs to check on the pet's well-being and care regularly.

The trust must name the caregiver and provide identification information about the pet to help prevent fraud. This information might include microchipping details, photos and anything else that will enable someone to positively identify the pet.

A pet trust will terminate upon the pet's death. The trustor may want to include instructions on what should happen with any remaining trust funds after the pet's death.

Creating a pet trust can enable you to ensure your pet will receive the same level of care you gave it during your lifetime. You do need to ensure you include all the important information and make the trust legally sound to avoid any issues. You can do this through working with an attorney who has experience in this area, such as the Law Offices of Connie Yi, PC.