Common Misconceptions About Pet Trusts That Have to Be Dispelled

The big question involves the concept of both a trustee and a caregiver. People will ask, “Do we really need two people involved? Does there have to be a trustee that handles the money along with somebody who takes care of the dog?”

The answer is yes. The dog cannot speak for itself; the cat cannot hire a lawyer to enforce its rights. If you don’t have somebody as an overseer, looking over the shoulder of the caregiver, then the caregiver has the opportunity to take advantage.

Do a Lot of Estate Planning Attorneys Offer Pet Trusts?

It’s not very common, actually. California does have a statute that specifically authorizes pet trusts. Not every state has this, and it’s a relatively new statute.

Most lawyers are not really aware of it, even. If they’ve done a pet trust, perhaps they’ve only done one or two in their entire careers.

In my practice, my basic routine is that I ask everyone who comes to see me if he has any valued and cherished pets to provide for after he’s gone. If he does, he’ll generally say: “Yes. I’d like to leave a little bit of money aside for the animal.”

Can a Pet Trust be Modified if it Was Done Incorrectly?

Generally, trusts done more than five years ago do not have any information about providing for pets. The chances are less than 1 percent, actually. I’ve never seen one.

Can People With Existing Trusts and Wills Recast Them to Take Care of Their Pets?

Yes. 5 or 10 years ago, nobody did any pet trusts. They didn’t exist. The law changed in California, making pet trusts standard.

For more information on Misconceptions About Pet Trusts, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (949) 660-0007 today.

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