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Estate planning can be implemented for the care of beloved pets

By this time, it may be that nearly every California resident has at least one beloved pet that he or she cherishes. The emergence and official declaration of the American romance with domesticated pets was finalized in the past few years by the social media platforms where all nature and manner of pet adoration has been displayed. It may be that pets are even earning money on YouTube. It is therefore not surprising to see that many people are engaging in estate planning that includes seeing to the care and welfare of their domestic pets should they predecease their animals.

Estate planning experts continue to develop standards for this emerging area. It is recommended that only things of true value be bestowed in the estate plan. Thus, pet toys, dishes and the like have no value and should not be listed. Where the intended caretaker is available, a detailed letter and list of concerns can be provided to take care of such details, but the will and trust instruments should not be burdened with things of no economic value.

One of the main objects of this kind of estate planning is to name a caretaker who will care for the pets after one's death. Through the legal vehicle of a revocable living trust, finances can be invested for the care of the designated pets. This is likely the most effective way to guarantee that one's pet will be cared for in the ways that are specified. The only proviso is make sure that the trust is adequately funded lest requested tasks not be performed.

The novelty and even complexity of this emerging kind of planning requires the services of an experienced estate planning attorney who is familiar with the variations of California estates laws. Other than that, the main thing will be to choose a loving caretaker, and to be absolutely safe, an alternative choice would be a good protective measure. Assure that the caretaker will be fully funded through the legal trust, and that the caretaker knows the full extent of the duties that will be provided.

Source:, "Should I Have a Financial Plan for My Pet: Estate Planning", Kristyn Pomranz, April 16, 2018

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