Have you thought about who will take care of your pet after you pass away?
It is fairly common these days to list animals as the beneficiary of a trust. In California, the Probate Code contains specific law applicable to trusts established for the benefit of animals. We suggest you hire legal counsel to prepare an animal trust to ensure the trust complies with California law and achieves its intended purpose.
The law aims at making certain that an animal trust is truly administeredfor the benefit of your pet and that trust funds are not diverted to others.
A trust for the care of an animal is considered a trust for a lawful, non-charitable purpose. Unless expressly provided in the trust, the trust is terminated when the pets listed are no longer alive.
If you have not assigned a trustee for the animal trust by your death or your selected trustee is not willing or able to follow your wishes, a court will name a trustee. A court may also make all other orders and determinations based on what it deems to be your intentions.
Any beneficiary, person designated by the trust instrument or the court to enforce the trust, or any nonprofit that has as its principal activity the care of animals may, upon reasonable request, inspect the animal, the premises where the animal is maintained, or the books and records of the trust.
Careful drafting is critical to making sure that an animal trust truly benefits the pet and that remaining trust funds pass to the correct persons or charities once the intended animal beneficiary is deceased.
If you’d like assistance in preparing the logistics and care for your pet immediately after your passing, please refer to the Continuing Care program at the Peninsula Humane Society or contact Lisa Van Buskirk at 650-340-7022 ext. 327 or Lvanbuskirk@phs-spca.org. She can also help you with choosing the appropriate care giver for your pet or if need be you may rely on the Peninsula Humane Society’s adoption program.
To learn more about animal trusts and how Chauvel & Glatt can prepare a trust that will benefit your pet after your passing, please do not hesitate to contact us.