Monday, April 23, 2012

Planning For Your Pets

You need not be concerned or worried about who will take care of your pet should something happen to you. With a basic plan, you can take the guesswork and worry out of the equation. Some believe that pet planning has to be complex and expensive. As with anything, a basic plan can be simple or your specific situation may require more complexity. If you already have an estate plan for yourself, pet estate planning basics can be incorporated into your very own estate plan. If you still have not made the decision to create an estate plan for yourself, estate planning basics include:
                  1. Durable Power of Attorney – Finances
2. Advanced Healthcare Directive
3. Last Will & Testament
4. Trust
Pet Provisions in your Will or Trust - The California Probate Code §15212 allows for the creation of a Trust for the care of an animal. Between 12% to 27% of pet owners include their pets in their estate planning documents, including planning for their pet’s final resting place.

Planning Options from Simple to Advanced:

  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to care for your pet should you become incapacitated or pass away.
  • If you do not have a trusted friend or family member, or if you have pets that require special attention, you may need to execute a Will or Trust.  A simpler approach – Both drafting and administrative costs may be reduced if the owner does not create a trust. An outright gift of the animal coupled with a reasonable sum to care for the animal which is conditioned on the beneficiary taking proper care of the animal is a simpler but less predictable method.
MORE ADVANCED PLANNING NEEDS: include a provision naming the person(s) who will take responsibility for your pet(s) at your death (Caretaker & Trustee); the person that you name as Trustee will be responsible for administering the trust assets for the remainder of your pet’s life.

Learn more by attending the Placer SPCA "Providing for our Furry Family Members." Click here for more details or contact attorney Colleen Watters at 916-786-7515.

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