Estate planning usually involves setting up a living trust with other related documents like a pour-over will to provide instructions and ease of administration of your assets when you die for the benefit of your loved ones. Sometimes these loves ones including your dogs, cats and birds among other pets! You can easily incorporate into your living trust – a carve out clause or provision for your pets via the California Probate Code provision for a pet trust. One commonly used method is to provide for a pet trust in your living trust using the following language as a guideline. Of course remember that this area is constantly evolving so new ideas and approaches are welcomed. Remember this is not legal advice to you. Carve out a Pet Trust in your Revocable Living Trust with this provision: California Probate Code section 15212 allows for the creation of a Pet Trust. Here is a sample provision: The sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for the settlor’s pets, which shall be held, administered, and distributed by the trustee, in trust, according to the terms set forth below applicable to the Trust for PETS. Note: you can select any sum or a percentage of your trust assets as you desire, you can also leave it up to the trustee’s discretion to fund it or you can fund it with all of your assets or a specific financial asset – bank account or life insurance policy. Trust for PETS The trustee shall hold, administer, and distribute the assets of the Trust for PETS as follows: Beneficiaries This trust is created for the benefit of the settlor’s pets. The primary purpose of this trust is to provide a care fund to be made available to the settlor’s pets during their lifetime. Discretionary Payments At any time or times during the trust term, the trustee shall pay to or apply for the benefit of the beneficiary as much of the principal of the trust as the trustee deems proper for the health, support, and maintenance of that beneficiary. All decisions of the trustee regarding payments under this subsection, if any, are within the trustee’s discretion and shall be final and incontestable by anyone. Final Disposition If the trust property is not completely disposed of for use for the settlor’s pets and all of the settlor’s pets have died, then the trustee shall distribute the remainder to _____. If you have pets in your household and want to provide for them, talk to us about setting up a pet trust within your living trust. We love helping our furry family members too. The author of this article owns a lot of cats and dogs and especially fond of German Shepherds! To contact Jen Sawday, you can email her at or call (562) 923-0971. Jen offers complimentary consultations for estate planning and living trust matters.

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