Earlier this summer, the Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles hosted the Clear the Shelters event where many animals were available for same day adoptions at reduced adoption rates. The 2016 Clear the Shelters event is the second year of this highly successful effort to find homes for pets all over Southern California. Last year, the even led to over 2,500 pets finding new homes.
All of the participating animal shelters in Southern California offer a reduced adoption fee of $20. NBC4 and Telemundo 52, along with several anchors and reporters participated in the event. Also, one local sponsor, the VCA Animal Hospitals, provided expert veterinarians and healthcare teams on-site in order to provide a limited health guarantee and a gift bag filled with pet essentials.
What are the consequences of not having a pet plan?
Pet owners know the important role their beloved pets play in their lives and the lives of their families. When a pet has been a part of your family for many years, it is important to consider the future of your pet, should you become incapacitated or pass away, and your pet survives you. In order to understand the importance of prior planning, you must understand the consequences of not having a pet plan in place, upon your death.
What happens to your pet go after you die?
If you do not have a pet plan in place, what happens to your pets depends, in part, on whether or not you have a will. The reality is, a pet is considered by the law to simply be property. That makes your pet a part of your estate, along with your other assets. If you have a will, your pet will be given to whomever is named as the “residuary beneficiary.” That is the person who inherits whatever remains of your estate after all specific bequests have been made, pursuant to your will. If you do not have a will, your pet will simply be included with your other personal property, and will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession in your state.
What if no one wants to take care of my pet?
Many pet owners simply assume that their relatives will gladly take on the responsibility for their pets, after they pass away. However, your relatives may have busy lives or personal restrictions, such as allergies, which may prevent them from being able to take on the role as caregiver. The only option may be surrendering your pet to a shelter. The risk of your pet being euthanized at a shelter is too great, to leave your pet’s future to chance. You must plan ahead.
Can I include provisions for my pet in my will?
Since pets are considered by the law to be property themselves, they cannot own property. This means that you cannot leave money to them in your will. You can, however, include provisions in your will that give your pet to someone you choose to take them in, along with a sum of money to provide the financial support for your pet’s care. The only drawback to this method of pet planning is, the person you choose as a caregiver is not legally bound to actually care for your pet, or to use the funds for your pet’s benefit. If you choose this way, it if crucial that you select someone you trust and discuss your wishes for your pet’s care, ahead of time.
How can I create a legally binding arrangement for my pet?
There are two common ways to create a pet plan that can be legally enforced. The more formal, and more costly, method is to create a pet trust. This allows you to leave your pet and sufficient funds to your chosen caregiver, while creating a trust agreement that sets out your instructions for your pet’s care. The other option is a pet care agreement, which is less formal than a pet trust, but still legally binding. If the terms of either the trust or the care agreement are violated by the caregiver, legal action can be taken against them for those violations.
What Should a Pet Plan Include?
Pet planning is a crucial step in estate planning for pet owners who want to know the future of their pet is secure. The possible consequences, if you die without a pet plan, are not pleasant to consider. Unfortunately, you cannot simply name a beneficiary for your pet. Instead, more specific plans need to be made to ensure that the caregiver will be legally bound by the terms you set, and the financial support needed to care for your pet will be secure. If you are wondering, what should your pet plan include, here are some of the basics.
What are the pet planning options?
There are two main parts of every pet plan: provisions for financial support and the identification of a caregiver. You must choose and appoint the appropriate caregiver and provide sufficient funds to provide the necessary care. The three basic methods are (1) provisions in a will, (2) pet care agreement, and (3) pet trusts. These methods range from informal requests to formal, binding contracts.
Click here for FREE estate planning worksheet! If you have questions regarding pet plan provisions, or any other pet estate planning needs, please contact the Schomer Law Group for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (310) 337-7696.