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Should I worry about my pets when making an estate plan?

When you are creating an estate plan, there are several things that you have to think about. Most people are aware that they have to decide how their property will be distributed after they die. Some people also consider setting plans for their final days or even their final arrangements. But, have you thought about what will happen to your pet if your pet outlives you?

Why should I include my pet in my estate plan?

It is easy to think that your loved ones will care for your pets when you are gone. That, however, isn't always the case. If you want to make sure that your pet will be properly cared for, you should include your pet in your estate plan by using a pet trust.

What is a pet trust?

A pet trust is a legal instrument that you can use to ensure that your pet is cared for in the manner you desire. The pet trust lists a person to take care of your pet. When you create the pet trust, you will set aside money to care for your pet after you are dead. Pet trusts are covered under California Probate Code Statutes 15200 to 15212.

How long is a pet trust valid?

A pet trust is valid until the last pet covered by the trust dies unless the trust stipulates otherwise. This can ensure that your pets are taken care of for their entire life.

Pet trusts must be set up in a manner that complies with the California Probate Code. Making sure that the pet trust you establish meets the necessary requirements can help you ensure your pet's days are filled with love and care after you are gone.

Source: ASPCA, "Pet Trust Primer," Kim Bressant-Kibwe, Esq., accessed July 15, 2015

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