Planning For The Care and Protection of Your Pet
Recognizing that for many people, their pet is just like a member of the family, California's pet trust statute, found in California Probate Code Section 15212, sets forth the guidelines for setting up a Pet Trust.
The law allows you to create an estate plan which includes a provision that upon your death, a certain sum of money will be held by a trustee (appointed by you) in a Pet Trust for the benefit of your pet. You also nominate a caregiver to take care of the pet. Often, the trustee and the caregiver are the same person, but in some cases they can be 2 different persons.
How Does The Pet Trust Work?
When you pass away, the nominated caregiver takes physical possession of the pet, and the trustee manages the funds for the costs of the pet’s food, veterinary care, and other pet supplies.
Under California law a Pet Trust is considered a noncharitable, lawful trust; and the definition of “animal” includes any domestic animal or pet.
The pet trust terminates when the animal dies, and any left over funds are distributed to “remainder beneficiaries” who you have named in the trust.
For large trusts, there are accounting requirements. Of course, a court has the power to order an accounting.
Essentially, the pet trust is conducted just like any other Trust Administration.
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