Can You Leave Your Entire Estate to A Pet?

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Can You Leave Your Entire Estate to A Pet?

Man with his dog

Many people really love their pets, and consider them to be family. If you’re one of them, you may have wondered whether you can leave your estate to your pet when you pass away. The short answer is no. California doesn’t allow you to leave your entire estate to a pet, mostly because pets are considered personal property. But there are some things you can do to make sure your pet has great care if you’re not around to take care of them anymore.

One thing you can do is create a pet trust, or legacy trust. This is specifically designed to provide the financial support your pet’s caregiver will need. Typically, you would appoint a person as a trustee, after ensuring that person agrees to take care of your pet after your death. You can list more than one person, just in case your first choice isn’t available or capable of your pet’s care at the time you pass away.

You can also avoid the Trust, and just leave a specific amount of cash to the person who’s going to be taking your pet to live with them. If you choose this option, though, you want to make sure you draft your Will and other documents carefully. That way the money you’ve designated for your pet’s care won’t be released if the person isn’t caring for your pet.

There have been rumors of people leaving money to their pets, but since California law isn’t set up that way, anyone who wants to do this will have to actually leave money to a person instead. If you try to make a Will that leaves everything to your pet, it won’t be considered valid.

The best thing to do is work with an estate planning attorney who can help you protect your pet after you pass away, so you can have peace of mind in knowing that your pet will be cared for by someone you trust. That can be a family member, friend, or anyone you choose who agrees to care for your beloved pet.

No matter what your estate planning requirements may be, we are here for you. We will carefully listen to you to create an estate plan that meets your wishes and needs. Our team of experts has the experience and ability to tailor a comprehensive estate plan for you. After a thorough review of your assets we will present you with various estate planning techniques that will suit your needs no matter what type of estate you have. Contact us today to get started!