When putting together an estate plan in California people take into account family members and others to whom they wish to leave bequests. Also frequently considered are funds to care for children with special needs or other family members who may warrant special consideration. Additionally, people may include, as part of an inheritance, financial provisions to provide continued care for their pets. This used to be seen as being particular to the wealthy. Many people will recall that Leona Helmsley’s dog, Trouble, was the beneficiary of a sizable bequest for his continued care.
The vast majority of people do not have millions to leave for the care of their beloved animals, but most people consider pets to be a part of their family and as such wish to provide for their care in the event that the owner passes away. This is particularly true for older people who may realistically face the possibility of passing before a younger pet. An older person creating or updating an estate plan may wish to consider the age and the current health of the pet when creating a bequest as part of the plan.
In addition to determining an amount to be put aside for care there should also be detailed instructions. These should include who will be caring for the pet and any special care instructions regarding the animal’s care. A person should also ask the person to handle the funds and/or provide the care if he or she is willing and able to assume care for the animal at short notice. An estate can take a long time to settle but animals require immediate and ongoing care.
Pets provide love and companionship to their owners in California and this is no less true of elderly pet owners than it is of young ones. Ensuring a pet’s continued care and well-being as part of an inheritance is a gift an owner can bestow on a pet to protect it in the event of the owner’s passing or becoming incapacitated. A lawyer experienced in estate planning can assist in establishing a successful care plan.