Pets are beloved members of households. For some seniors, pets act as regular companions who helps improve quality of life in later years. There are people who spend a small fortune on pet care from specialty foods to long-term veterinary care. One thing that often gets neglected, however, is thinking about what will happen to our pets if we die. Here are a few simple ways to remember your pets when developing your estate plan.
- A Will – In your will, you can include instructions on how your pets are to be cared for along with outlining a monetary gift to be used for the pet’s care. It is important to note, though, that money cannot be left directly to your pet, nor can it be required for the money to be used for the pet, only requested.
- A Trust – California law allows for a trust to be set up specifically for the care of a surviving pet. In this case, you can designate the person who will care for your pet, set aside specific funds for that use only, and leave more specific instructions regarding the care you desire your pet to receive. You can also outline what is to happen to remaining funds in the trust should the pet die before the funds are used up.
- Pet Care Organizations – If you do not have a person in mind who will be able to care for your pet as you desire, you may want to find an organization that cares for pets. Leaving sufficient funds for the organization will ensure your pet is properly cared for since these organizations may sometimes lack adequate funding.
Comprehensive Estate Planning Assistance
At the Petrov Law Firm, we want to help you plan for every aspect of your family’s future. From your mate and children to a beloved pet, you should be confident that your estate will be left to those you love the most. Call 619-344-0360 to start on your estate planning today.Read More
Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half of which are children. Dog attacks can happen virtually anywhere and under any circumstance. When they do occur and someone else is injured, regardless if they initiated contact, as a dog owner, you will be held liable by the injured party.
If you are a dog owner, is there such a thing as a safe haven for you and your dog? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is nearly never yes. Even in an environment created and reserved for dog-dog/dog-human interactions such as a dog park, you are responsible for your pet’s behavior. While dog parks may be a place where the city suspends its leash laws, the laws that govern liability for human or animal injury still apply.
What happens if your dog attacks while inside your home? If there is a guest present and they are injured in the attack, you are still liable, even if the attack occurs in your own home. While there is very little law that directly applies to in-home dog attack injuries, most courts will side with the predominant opinions that point to laying the burden on the owner of the aggressive dog. As long as another person is injured in an attack involving your pet, you as the pet owner will be held responsible, no matter what the setting.
If you or your dog was attacked, whether at a dog park or at someone’s home, the law is on your side. You need to contact a lawyer immediately so that you and the lawyer can begin to collect sufficient evidence to bring suit against the other dog owner. You will need to locate eye-witnesses and get medical records from your doctor and your veterinarian. The sooner you ask a lawyer for help, the more likely the case will settle in your favor.Read More
Pet care is a critical part of an estate plan for any pet owner. Where will the pet live once I die? Unless the pet owner has a good friend or family member close by, the animal could get placed at a municipal shelter without the promise of survival.
If you have pets, but don’t know where they will live when you die, contact a lawyer to help you craft an estate plan that includes pet care instructions. In most major cities, including San Diego, the estate plan facilitates transferring the animal to an adoption agency designed to protect orphaned animals.
Pets provide significant comfort to the elderly. Knowing that the animal will be treated with respect and love for its entire life is crucial to most animal owners. In fact, the well being of a pet is often the impetus for creating an estate plan; with some adults are entirely focused on ensuring their pets are placed in a safe and loving home.
The Helen Woodward Animal Center is a great resource for anyone who needs help determining where an orphaned animal will go. Thanks to an extensive group of volunteers, the orphaned animals go into foster care until a new, permanent home is found.Read More
Some insurance companies are shying away issuing homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance for the owners of some dog breeds. Unfortunately, some dogs are statistically more likely to bite or behave violently, and if you own one of these breeds, you may need to shop around for insurance.
It might feel unfair, but insurance companies are big, faceless companies that only look at hard, cold facts. And because some dog breeds are more susceptible to become violent, the insurance companies make the blanket decision to reject any home where those breeds live.
If you own a breed that has a poor reputation, don’t let your insurance policy lapse. Although it’s unlikely that you dog will bite or snap, one simple act could put your squarely in front of a judge, facing thousands of dollars of medical bills for the bite-victim.
In addition, take the time to consult with a personal injury lawyer about preventing dog bite lawsuits. Bring your insurance policy for him or her to review. In just one hour with a lawyer, you can get several important tips for avoiding lawsuits and saving the life of your pet.Read More
Perhaps the neighbor’s dog barks when you’re on your own lawn. Maybe the dog has a habit of chasing cars on the street. Or perhaps, the dog stands and growls at people walking by the house. If you feel your neighbor has a dangerous animal, there are several steps you can take to avoid problems while documenting the issues for future legal action.
Personal injury cases depend on someone’s negligence. Homeowners, business owners, pet owners… someone needs to be responsible — or the injury is just an accident. If you think your neighbor is ignoring the fact that his or her animal is dangerous, then you have the start of a personal injury case.
Typically, evidence of negligence has to collected after the accident has already occurred. For example, if you trip and fall because of a loose step on the front door of a business, then you would have to document the problem after the accident. But in many cases, the person responsible for the accident quickly fixes such a problem.
With an animal, you might have time to observe and document problems before they turn into injuries. Photographs of the dog on the street without a leash, copies of police records indicating the dog’s threatening behavior, notes from any conversations about the animal… these are examples of documentation you and your lawyer can use if the animal eventually bites or hurts someone.
Of course, by talking to the neighbor or contacting the police prior to a problem you could significantly reduce the likelihood of an incident. If you think you have a dangerous animal in the neighborhood, start communicating with the police immediately and document every step you take. Any evidence you have will be invaluable if the dog causes an injury.Read More
If your dog bites someone but has not been vaccinated for rabies, you might have to put the animal in supervised quarantine. Your dog is not likely to be put down (destroyed) simply because he or she bit someone.
Generally, you will have to pay a veterinarian to quarantine and supervise your dog for ten days after he or she bites someone. If the animal does not display any signs of unusual behavior after ten days, then the dog does not have rabies.
However, if the animal is at risk for having rabies (frequent contact with wild animals or other dogs) then the bite victim might have to go through preventive care while your dog is in quarantine. And as the owner of the dog, you’re probably going to have to pay for the victim’s medical treatments while the dog is under supervision.
In addition, the dog’s overall behavior will come under scrutiny (as will yours) to determine the general safety of the dog. Regardless of rabies, a dog that is prone to biting could be sentenced to death by a judge. A first time offence will probably not mean a death sentence for the dog, but once the dog is known for violence, as the owner you should take some preventative steps to help keep your dog alive.
Because a dog bite can mean expensive medical bills, quarantine, fear of rabies, and future scrutiny, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to give you direction as to how to proceed. In addition, your lawyer can go through your home or renters insurance policy to see if some or all of these associated costs will be covered with the policy’s liability clause.Read More
Dog parks are not a liability-free zone. While dog parks may be a place where the city suspends its leash laws, the laws that govern liability for human or animal injury still apply. In addition, dog parks are not the place for un-neutered male dogs, aggressive dogs, or un-socialized puppies. Dog parks exist so that dogs and owners can relax and play in a free, open space. Any dogs likely to cause trouble are not welcome and any trouble a dog causes is still the owner’s responsibility.
Some dog parks post warning signs that limit liability. However, the signs mostly release the city from liability for any injuries that occur. The dog owners can still be held responsible if their dogs bite or injury anyone. While there is very little law that directly applies to dog park injuries, most courts will side with the predominant opinions that point to laying the burden on the owner of the aggressive dog.
If you or your dog was attacked at a dog park, the law is on your side. You have to contact a lawyer immediately so that you and the lawyer can begin to collect sufficient evidence to bring suit against the other dog owner. You will to locate eye-witnesses and get medical records from your doctor and your veterinarian. The sooner you ask a lawyer for help, the more likely the case will settle in your favor.Read More
If your pet has been injured, intentionally or unintentionally, you can sue the person who harmed your animal. There are several factors that the legal system will take into account such as the circumstances surrounding the injury and any negligence by the person you are suing. Because pets are technically property, you won’t always be able to claim emotional distress, however, you can still recover some costs through a lawsuit.
For example, if your small dog runs out of the house and into the neighbor’s yard, your neighbor has very little cause for shooting the dog in self defence. However, if your dog is a pit bull that charges into the neighbor’s house barking louding and baring his teeth, your neighbor will have a better case for self defense.
If your neighbor is driving twice the speed limit and hits your dog in the street, you can probably make a good case for negligence. However, in such an instance, you will be held partially responsible for allowing your dog to roam free.
Through a lawsuit, you might be able to recover the cost of buying the animal, training and behaviour classes, and any veterinary bills for the pet’s recovery. If your animal has been injured, contact a personal injury attorney to go over your options.Read More
If you own a dog in California, state and county laws demand that you have a license for the dog showing it has an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Staying compliant with these laws will help protect you from financial penalties and help protect your dog from being destroyed if he or she bites someone.
Very few people expect their dogs to bite anyone. Dog bites are generally part of the dog’s natural reaction to overactive play or surprise attention. Even the most gentle dog can be provoked into snapping or biting.
Dog bite victims are more likely to pursue legal action if the dog doesn’t have an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Because there is no way to test for rabies in a live animal, a dog bite can lead to a court order to destroy the animal for a definitive rabies diagnosis.
Courts also favor pet owners who license their dogs. Licensing your pet shows that you respect the law. When a judge is reviewing a dog bite case, he or she will review several factors (including licensing) before deciding on both the fate of the dog and any financial penalties you might face.
Lastly, state and local licensing is part of the integrated tracking and delivery system for lost animals. When you license your dog, you are more likely to have your pet returned if lost.Read More
Pets are often our closest family member. Pets are with us when we are feeling low or suffering through pain. They bring joy to our lives and deserve to be protected once we are gone. With dogs and cats living more than 20 years (and parrots living more than 80 years), it is very common today to include a clause in your will about pet care.
If you want to include pet care as part of your estate plan, you don’t need to tell your family if you fear they will disregard your wishes. Call an estate lawyer who will help you add a few simple words to your will to ensure your pet is not left alone after you pass away.
There are a few different ways to include your pet in your will. The most simple way to ensure pet care is to set aside an exact dollar amount. In addition, you should specify a caretaker for the animal. If you choose, you can create a pet-care trust that will ensure the animal is cared for per your exact instructions — including food, grooming, and housing.
Don’t forget to include your pet in your living will instructions. While your pet might be mentioned in the will, it could be weeks before anyone reads it. If you are at risk of any kind of acute, critical care (heart attack, stroke, etc) be sure to leave instruction in your wallet. Some patients wear two medical alert tags — one for themselves and one for their pet.
Pet care can be disregarded by some as superfluous and indulgent. (Media stories, like the one about Leona Helmsley’s $12 million pet trust, don’t help.) However, pets are often important caregivers for those who live alone or live with chronic illness. Make sure you care for them as much as they care for you.Read More