Estate Planning Blog

Naming a Pet Guardian as Part of Your Estate Planning in Sacramento

June 20, 2012

No matter how much you love your pets and feel that they are “part of the family,” they are generally seen as property by the Sacramento County courts and are therefore treated accordingly. This can cause some concern for pet owners who want to ensure that their pets are well-cared-for and able to transition as smoothly as possible after the death or incapacitation of an owner.

One option that many pet owners are now exercising is to create a pet trust. This type of trust is used to protect the pet in case you are unable to do so. The trust will likely specify your chosen pet guardian, which can either be an individual or an organization. This entity will be responsible for taking care of the pet either until the owner is able to do so again or permanently, depending upon the situation. In the latter case, it may even be necessary for the entity to arrange to officially adopt the pet.

Guidelines When Choosing A Pet Guardian In Sacramento

For best protection, the guardian should be approached in advance to ensure that he/she/it is willing and able to take on the responsibility of caring for your pet in your absence. This is not the kind of thing that you want sprung on a person unexpectedly, especially when your ultimate goal is to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet.

It’s a good practice to provide the named guardian with a copy of the trust, which provides legal justification for him or her to take the pet. That can be especially important if you face an unexpected catastrophic event of some type. Police are unlikely to allow a friend or neighbor to remove your “property” from your home while you are incapacitated, which means your pet may be left in the house alone for any length of time. Having the pet trust means that the guardian is permitted to take care of the pet immediately.

Funding the Pet Trust

There are some good arguments for providing at least some funding for the pet trust, either through an amount of money set aside or as a beneficiary of an insurance policy or some sort of account. It is reasonable to provide for food and veterinary costs for the expected duration of the pet’s life. Of course, the choice of whether or not to fund the trust is up to you, and many guardians are perfectly willing to take on the financial aspects of caring for your pet. If someone refuses to be your pet’s guardian unless they are given something substantial for themselves, it may be a good idea to reconsider your choice and ensure that you are a choosing a pet guardian in Sacramento who truly has your beloved pet’s best interests at heart.

Call The Chubb Law Firm today at (916) 241-9661 to review your goals and discuss your options.

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CLIENT Story

Very professional, comprehensive service and extremely valuable. Heather and her team are very knowledgeable and we feel they have our best interests at heart. They make uncomfortable decision conversations possible and manageable. Working with Heather we were able to focus our attention on important issues that we questioned or purposely avoided for too long. Now that these questions are answered and our family is covered, it's a wonderful feeling.
Christine

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