California Estate Planning for Pet Owners

1:13 pm Uncategorized

A growing trend in estate planning is the establishment of a pet trust, a legal document that ensures your pet receives the necessary care after you die.  Probably the most infamous example of a pet trust is the one in Leona Helmsley’s 2007 will, which left $12 million to her white Maltese, aptly named Trouble.

Obviously you don’t need $12 million to ensure your pet is appropriately cared for after you go.  A qualified California estate planning lawyer can assist you in executing a pet trust as part of your estate planning process.

In a pet trust, you give your pet and enough money or property to sustain it to a trustee, someone you trust to care for your pet according to your wishes.  The trustee is usually different from the pet’s eventual caregiver; a trustee is charged with executing the terms of the trust so even if the caregiver becomes incapacitated or for some reason can no longer care for your pet, the trustee is responsible for finding another suitable caregiver.

A California estate planning attorney can help you determine how much property or money you need to leave for the care of your pet.  Leaving an amount that is too large can cause the court to reduce the amount, which it eventually did in the Helmsley case.

An estate planning attorney can also advise you of different financial instruments available for funding your pet trust, such as a life insurance policy or annuity.

Your California legal and financial planning experts are at your service; Contact us today.

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