Providing for “Children” who Wear Fur Coats

Many people are aware of the benefits of using Trusts with regard to their Estate Planning.  Trusts can accomplish many objectives such as avoiding probate, tax planning, asset protection, and Medi-Cal planning.  Probably the most commonly understood purpose of a Trust is to provide a gift or an inheritance to a child or other beneficiary who is not mature or responsible enough to manage the property.  The basic idea is to entrust the property with a third party who will manage it on behalf of the beneficiary.  Much like an immature or irresponsible beneficiary, a beloved animal cannot take care of itself and is in need of a caretaker.

Most people never think of their pets in the context of Estate Planning.  It is a common assumption that friends or family members will automatically be willing to assume the role of caretaker to a companion animal.  The reality is that when a pet owner dies or becomes incapacitated, it is often very difficult to find caretakers for pets.  In fact, The Humane Society estimates approximately 1 million pets are euthanized each year as a result of pet owners not adequately planning for their care in the event of incapacity or death.  Fortunately, there is a solution: a "Pet Trust."

A Pet Trust is a mechanism where a pet owner can designate a certain amount of funds to be held in trust by a third party for the benefit of a companion animal.  The idea is very similar to providing a certain amount of money for a minor child or immature beneficiary.  Using a Pet Trust, you can ensure that your beloved animals will be have somebody – and a source of funds – to provide for their care and needs for the rest of their lives.

If you are interested in learning more about Pet Trusts, please join me for a panel discussion on Pet Trusts on Saturday, March 12, 2011 from 10:00 am to noon at 700 Jewell Avenue, Pacific Grove, sponsored by Animal Friends Rescue Project (831-333-0722) and Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (831-718-9122).  RSVP by calling either agency.