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ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE SERVICES FOR NORTH COUNTY

Protect Your Family And Your Legacy

We have been confidently guiding San Diego and North County families through the estate planning and administration process for more than 30 years.

 
ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE SERVICES FOR NORTH COUNTY

Protect Your Family And Your Legacy

We have been confidently guiding San Diego and North County families through the estate planning and administration process for more than 30 years.

ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE SERVICES FOR NORTH COUNTY

Protect Your Family And Your Legacy

We have been confidently guiding San Diego and North County families through the estate planning and administration process for more than 30 years.

Pet Trusts Attorney in Carlsbad

Many people consider their pets to be just like family. They provide love and companionship and can help to fill a hole at the end of life when other loved ones are no longer around. Pets rely on their owners for their comfort and care, so it is important to think about what will happen to them if you pass away or become incapable of caring for them. One way of doing this is to set up a pet trust.

What Is a Pet Trust?

A pet trust can be part of a revocable living trust or can be made as a stand-alone trust. Learning how trusts work is important to understanding what a pet trust is and why it is useful. A revocable living trust is created by a person while they are alive that allows them to transfer their assets into a trust. This enables the person to indicate how and to whom they would like their assets dispersed upon their death, as well as helping loved ones avoid a complex probate process.

A pet trust specifically allows a person to leave money to be used for the care of a pet or pets that are left behind after their death. You can also provide specific written instructions for how the money should be used, as well as choose who will manage that money and take care of the animals for you. Pet trusts can also lay out specific instructions and needs when it comes to the pets covered in the trust. Owners can indicate preferred sleeping arrangements, favorite toys, food, and any quirks or personality traits a new caretaker should know about.

Creating a Pet Trust in California

An estate planning attorney can assist you with the creation of a legal and valid pet trust. There are several important steps to take to set up a trust for your pets:

  • Select a beneficiary. Legally known as a beneficiary, this will be your pet’s caregiver when you pass on or become unable to care for them.
  • Select a trustee. This person can check in on your pet’s well being to ensure the beneficiary is following the guidelines you outlined in the trust, as well as disperse funds to the beneficiary to care for your pet.
  • Provide specific details about your pet’s preferences and care. Go into depth about your pet and their needs, routines, grooming and vet appointments, likes, and dislikes. This will allow them to have a smoother transition into a new home and ensure they are cared for in the way that you want them to be.
  • Provide details about medical care and end-of-life preferences. Let the new caregiver know about your pet’s medical needs and what end-of-life measures you want for your pet as they age.
  • Determine and set aside funds. Consider the cost of your pet’s needs and care and set this amount aside in the trust to help the new caregiver provide for your pet financially.
  • Discuss and finalize. Make the people involved in the pet trust aware of the trust and their responsibilities. Have the trust notarized, transfer funds to the trust, and ensure the documents are stored in a safe place. Then, make sure the trustee has access to it.

Choosing a Pet Caretaker

Deciding who will care for your pets once you are gone is often the most difficult decision when creating a pet trust. There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing a pet caretaker, including:

  • Familiarity with your pet. Pets can be anxious and stressed once their caretakers are gone and may find comfort in being with someone they have spent time with before. It may also ease your mind to know your pet will be left to someone who knows and loves your pet.
  • Other pets. Does the person you are considering for the role of caretaker have other pets in their home? This could be positive or negative, depending on your pet’s temperament around other animals.
  • Willingness for the job. Discussing your decision with potential pet caretakers is critical. Caring for a pet is a big responsibility and not one everyone is willing to take on. Be certain the person you choose is up for the job.
  • Alternative options. If you do not have a specific person in your life whom you trust or who is willing to care for your pet, there are other options. Research animal shelters or animal adoption agencies in your area. You can name the organization you would like to handle the adoption of your pet after your passing if you choose.

Determining How Much Money to Leave in a Pet Trust

The amount of money you should leave in a pet trust is dependent upon your pet or pets and their needs. In addition to considering how many pets you are leaving behind, consider these factors when determining how much money to place in a pet trust and which details to include about their care:

  • Veterinary and healthcare costs. Include money for annual visits and vaccinations, medications your pets require, and possibly a bit extra for any unexpected medical issues that may arise as they age.
  • Food. Determine the amount you spend on their specific food and treats annually and multiply that number by their life expectancy to set their new caretaker up with enough money to provide for them.
  • Grooming. If your pet requires grooming, let the caretaker know how frequently grooming is required and leave money in the trust to cover these costs.
  • Age of your pets. Younger pets will live longer than older pets, so once you have determined roughly how much their care costs annually, multiply that by their life expectancy to get an idea of how much of a financial burden you would be leaving on their new caretaker and cover as much of that cost as possible. Additionally, remember that older pets generally require more veterinary visits and medications as they age, so consider adding extra money for their geriatric care.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Create a Pet Trust?

Going through the process of creating a pet trust independently is allowed, but legal help from an attorney experienced in creating pet trusts is recommended. There are specific guidelines to follow and language to use to make sure your trust is valid. With experience in this area, the law office of Paul V. L. Campo can walk you through the process of adding a pet trust to your estate plan as well as help determine what other estate planning needs you might benefit from.

Risks of Not Having a Pet Trust

Some may think going through all this trouble for a pet is unnecessary, but if you find yourself thinking about what will happen to your pet once you are gone, a pet trust is a good way to ensure their well being. Pets are technically “personal belongings,” so they are subject to the probate process, which takes months at the shortest and years at the longest. So, the money you plan to set aside for your pet in a will may not be accessible to your chosen caretaker until long after you’re gone. A pet trust makes for a smoother transition of care and financials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if I can’t care for my pet before I die?

A: A pet trust can take effect prior to your death, unlike the provisions in a will, which may be subject to probate. This is one of the advantages of a pet trust, knowing that it can go into effect in the event you become incapacitated and unable to care for your animals.

Q: What happens to the money in a pet trust once the pet dies?

A: If there is money in the trust when a pet dies, you can predetermine how that money will be handled. For example, you could list an animal-centered charity or a specific family member to inherit the money when your pet passes on.

Q: What if I don’t put enough money in my pet trust?

A: If no property or money remains in the pet trust, but the pet is still alive, it will become the responsibility of the caregiver to decide what to do. They may choose to continue caring for the pet with their own funds or could attempt to rehome the animal if they are unable or unwilling to pay for their care. This is why it is important to both discuss care taking expectations with your chosen pet caregiver and ensure an appropriate amount of funds are in the pet trust.

Don’t Let Your Furry Family Be Forgotten

Establishing a pet trust is just one component of a comprehensive estate plan, but it is important to ensure your pet is well taken care of after you cannot provide their care. At the law office of Paul V.L. Campo, we understand that pets are like family and are ready to help pet owners who are planning pet trusts. If you are looking for an experienced Carlsbad pet trusts lawyer or have any estate planning needs, contact us today to set up a consultation.



What Our Clients Say | Legal Associations


  • Jason

    “Thank you for your services in managing the probate of my mother’s estate. Your professionalism and fairness are much appreciated.”

    Jason
    Probate Client
  • Patty, California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF)

    “As a client of Paul’s in my capacity as a Professional Fiduciary, he has guided me through the intricacies of trust administration on many occasions.”

    Patty, California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF)
    Trust Administration Client
  • Jean

    “Mr. Campo did a great job on my estate planning. He was very thorough and made me aware of several things I hadn’t considered. I highly recommend him.”

    Jean
    Estate Planning/Trust Administration Client
  • Carol, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.)

    “The service I received goes beyond professionalism. It’s all about caring for my wishes and goals and coming up with the ideal estate plan for me.”

    Carol, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.)
    Estate Planning Client
  • Del

    “I am very grateful to Attorney Paul Campo and his excellent staff for guiding me through the complex probate process.”

    Del
    Probate Client

What Our Clients Say | Legal Associations


  • Jason

    “Thank you for your services in managing the probate of my mother’s estate. Your professionalism and fairness are much appreciated.”

    Jason
    Probate Client
  • Patty, California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF)

    “As a client of Paul’s in my capacity as a Professional Fiduciary, he has guided me through the intricacies of trust administration on many occasions.”

    Patty, California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF)
    Trust Administration Client
  • Jean

    “Mr. Campo did a great job on my estate planning. He was very thorough and made me aware of several things I hadn’t considered. I highly recommend him.”

    Jean
    Estate Planning/Trust Administration Client
  • Carol, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.)

    “The service I received goes beyond professionalism. It’s all about caring for my wishes and goals and coming up with the ideal estate plan for me.”

    Carol, Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.)
    Estate Planning Client
  • Del

    “I am very grateful to Attorney Paul Campo and his excellent staff for guiding me through the complex probate process.”

    Del
    Probate Client

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