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Dogs in estate plans

I had the pleasure of attending the Placer SPCA’s Barktoberfest events this weekend in Roseville. We took our dog Coco. I must say that Coco had a dog-gone good time there!  I actually could make a long post about how much fun Barktoberfest was but that’s not the point of my post. If you have a dog, a horse, a cat, a fish, a bird, or any other animal that you want to provide for at your death what are your options? What can you do to make sure they are taken care of after you become incapacitated or die?  Notice I include incapacity because that’s an issue not to ignore!

We all agree, no matter how smart your dog is, you can not just give them money.  The average dog may be better with money than the average 18 year old boy but still you shouldn’t leave them an inheritance. So what are some options:

1) Give your pet and money to a friend. Yes, that simple. It can be in your will or trust. “I give Fido and $5,000 to my friend Betty.”  Done.

2) A pet trust is not common but it’s a viable option. The money can be left in trust pursuant to California probate code 15212. This is a little more complex than the above but it works and is suitable for larger gifts.

3) Leave your pet to a care home and make a donation to that home.

There are options so meet with a qualified estate planning attorney and discuss them!