Pets provide years of dedicated companionship. But have you ever considered what would happen to your pets if you became disabled or died?
Over half a million pets are euthanized by their owners every year. Older pets are at the highest risk of being euthanized because they are less likely to be adopted by family or from a shelter. For many pets, their owner’s death or disability becomes their death sentence.
While you can always ask a friend or loved one to take care of a pet, they are not legally obligated to take care of them. Nor are the automatically obligated to use any funds from your estate on your pet’s behalf.
Since pets are considered personal property under California law, you cannot provide directly for them in your will. However, California does permit the creation of a trust for your pet. A pet trust sets aside a portion of your estate to care for the pet’s needs for the remainder of its life. This includes food, shelter, and veterinary care.
The amount to be set aside for your pet will depend greatly on the anticipated lifespan of the pet and the anticipated needs for care. A young horse has a much greater life expectancy and care requirements than an elderly dog. So the amount should be carefully considered to be enough to care for the pet. If unsure, it is often best to overfund a pet trust than underfund because any unused funds can be directed towards other pets, heirs, or charitable organizations at the death of the pet.
Contact Yeager Law for any questions, comments, and concerns.