How to Protect Your Pets After You Pass Away

Your pets are part of your family. As such, you want to ensure they are happy and safe after you die. But what steps can you take to make that happen?

For many Californians, a pet trust is the most effective solution.

What is a Pet Trust?

A pet trust is a legally binding arrangement designed to provide for the care and well-being of an animal in the event of its owner’s disability or death.

It gives pet owners the ability to designate a trustee to take care of their animal once they are no longer able to do so – and allows them to set aside funds to help cover pet care expenses, like:

  • Veterinary bills
  • Pet insurance
  • Food, and
  • Grooming

Pet trusts are currently recognized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia – so they typically remain valid even if the owner or the trustee relocates to a different part of the country.

Factors to Consider When Creating a Pet Trust

Before you set up your pet trust, there are several factors you’ll need to consider, including:

  • The Identity of the Caregiver: Most people choose to leave their pets to a close friend or relative. Make sure you speak to the individual before naming them in the trust.
  • The Funding: Determine the amount of money you should add to the trust by estimating the annual cost of pet care and the number of years you expect the animal to live.
  • The Care Instructions: As a general rule, you’ll need to provide the pet’s caregiver with information regarding their feeding, grooming, and exercise. You should also include the contact details of the animal’s veterinarian.

When creating your pet trust, you should also decide what you want to happen to any funds that are remaining after the animal dies. Many people choose to leave the money to their loved ones or a charitable cause.

An Alternative Option: Animal Shelters

If you don’t have a friend or relative who can take care of your pet after you pass away, you may want to consider leaving them to a local no-kill animal shelter instead.

Organizations like these will care for your animal in the immediate aftermath of your death. They will then attempt to find them a new home.

Leaving your pet in the care of a shelter is usually as simple as naming them in your will or trust, but some organizations may require you to fill out some additional paperwork before agreeing to accept the animal.

A Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer in San Diego

Do you need help setting up a pet trust or leaving your animal to a local shelter? If so, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team here at the Semanchik Law Group. We understand the intricacies of California estate planning law, and we are ready to go to work for you!

To arrange a free consultation with a member of our skilled legal team, all you need to do is give us a call at (619) 535-1811 or send us a message online. We look forward to working with you!