I absolutely adore my dog. He has been my trusted companion since my divorce 7 years ago. I want to be sure he is not lost in the shuffle should something happen to me. What are some suggestions for him in my estate plan?
-Woof Woof on Winesap
Dear Woof Woof:
It may sound silly, but in California, we have pet trusts. If you set up a pet trust, it would “have teeth” in court. However, most of my clients don’t set up a separate trust for their animal. Here are simple steps clients have taken in their estate plans with furry friends in mind:
Bequest. Rather than create a stand-alone pet trust, many of my clients leave a monetary bequest in their current trust to provide food, shelter and medical care for their pet. Consider the likely life span of the pet when making this decision.
Trusted human. A trusted person is often designated, in writing, to take the animal. A breeder is often identified if the original adoption papers require it.
Instructions. Many clients leave detailed instructions regarding proper food, medication and routine for the pet. This information is very helpful should you become incapacitated or pass away.
Pets give us love and devotion. Providing assurances and instruction for them in your planning can be satisfying to you and crucial for them. Call if you have questions about any of the above.