You Wouldn’t Trust Your Pet to Just Anyone, Would You?

When thinking about leaving things to your loved ones after you’re gone, the first things that typically come to mind are your home, vehicle, and other personal belongings. But for the pet owners out there, it’s important to ask the question: “who would I trust to take care of my pets?”


Video: Dave explains Pet Trusts in our webinar, Estate Planning for Millennials


Although many people consider their pets a part of their family, in California, pets are considered property. This allows pet owners to create a framework in their Living Trust for their pets to be taken care of for the rest of the pets’ lives. This framework is commonly referred to as a Pet Trust. Here’s how it works:


  • You can include a section of your Trust document that identifies your property – in this case, your pet(s)
  • You can then nominate a Trustee to take ownership of your pets, and a backup Trustee
    • In accepting the role of Trustee, they take on the financial responsibilities of pet ownership and maintenance as outlined in your Trust
  • This also allows you to give a recurring gift to your pet’s new caretaker, so long as your Trust is properly funded
    • Example: They receive monthly funds that will go towards food, veterinarian appointments, toys, etc.
  • In this section, you can outline specific instructions for the person responsible for your pet, including:
    • Standards of living and care for your pet, such as the vet you would like them to visit, or the foods that they eat
    • Burial or cremation wishes
  • If you have multiple pets, you can make sure that they stay together


If you have pets, consider taking these steps to protect them in the future. They’ll be taken care of, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they’re in the hands of someone you trust.


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