According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of all US households own a pet. For many of us, our pets are part of the family. Yet many pet owners have not considered what would happen to the pet if the owner becomes incapacitated or dies. Most pet owners would not want for the pet to be left unattended or end up in a shelter.
If you are a pet owner, you must consider doing some essential estate planning for your pet, by appointing a guardian or caregiver and, whenever possible, designating a fund that can be used to take care of the pet. Some types of pets, such as horses, livestock and exotic species, require a caregiver with special skill and an appropriate place to live. Therefore, selecting the right caregiver and home requires careful thought and advance preparation.
Most of us have heard stories about wealthy pet owners leaving large sums to a pet in trust. Some of these stories border on outrageous, but the truth is that the cost of taking care of a pet, such as a dog or cat, can be upwards of $1500 per year, depending on the pet’s needs. For horses and exotics, the cost can be thousands per month.
A simple durable power of attorney can be used to appoint a caregiver with the power to expend resources to care for the pet. A trust can also be used to provide for the pet during the owner’s incapacity and after the owner’s death. Estate planning provisions can range from a simple designation and outright monetary gift to a detailed trust arrangement for the benefit of the pet. The arrangements can even provide for the burial or cremation of the pet.
If you have a pet and would like to make sure that he or she is taken care of if you become unable to do so, please call us to discuss the options available.
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The Law Offices of Jacqueline Real-Salas is a full service Estate Planning & Tax Planning law firm. They provide comprehensive planning in the areas of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, advanced estate planning, income tax planning, probate & trust administration, probate avoidance planning, special needs trusts, disability planning and asset protection. Jacqueline Real-Salas serves clients and their families all throughout the Los Angeles Area, including Temecula, Pasadena, Murrieta, French Valley, North San Diego County, and the surrounding areas, cities and towns.
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