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Pet Trusts - Which Type of Pet Trust is Better?


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As a pet owner, you want to be assured that your pet will continue to receive the proper care and attention that you have always provided, even when you are no longer able to take care of them yourself. A secure way of providing for your pet's care is through a pet trust, in which you designate both a caregiver to care for your pet and a trustee to ensure that your trust's funds are used for the benefit of your pet. There are two basic types of pet trusts.

"Traditional pet trusts" are effective in all states. In a traditional pet trust, the pet owner creates an enforceable trust in favor of a human beneficiary, the pet's designated caregiver and then requires the trustee to make distributions of the trust's funds to the beneficiary to cover the pet's expenses, provided the beneficiary is taking proper care of the pet.

Many pet owners may prefer to establish this type of pet trust. The traditional pet trust allows the pet owner to have tremendous control over their pet's care. For example, you may designate the trustee who will manage your trust's property and the beneficiary who will become your pet's caregiver, and you may also specify the pet-related expenses the trustee will pay, the type of care your pet will receive, contingency provisions if the caregiver can no longer provide for your pet, and arrangements for your pet once the pet dies.

Traditionally, it has been difficult to legally enforce trusts in which an animal has been named beneficiary. However, in recent years, many states have enacted legislation specifically recognizing the validity and enforceability of pet trusts. Pet trusts set up in those states are called “statutory pet trusts. "

Currently, 37 states including the District of Columbia have enacted laws that let residents set up statutory pet trusts, which are typically less expensive than traditional pet trusts. A statutory pet trust is a basic plan and greatly simplifies the steps needed to create a pet trust. According to Greg Daugherty, executive editor of Consumer Reports, you can set up a statutory pet trust for as little as $100, in addition to the cost of your will.

Setting up a pet trust will give you the peace of mind you need in knowing that your beloved pet will be taken care of in the event of your disability or death. A California pet trust attorney with experience in drafting pet trusts will be able to guide you through the process, and answer any additional questions you might have concerning how to secure the best future for your pet.

Kevin Von Tungeln is the Managing Partner of and Thompson Von Tungeln, P. C. Kevin practices exclusively in the areas of estate planning, probate, wills, conservatorships and trust administration. Visit or call (661) 945-5868 to learn more.


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