New California Law Gives Pets the Care They Need When Owners Pass Away, Says Antelope Valley Estate Planning Law Firm Partner

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According to Antelope Valley estate planning law firm partner, Kevin L. Von Tungeln, California pet owners can now rely upon a new law to make sure their pets get the care they need when their human companions have passed away. The "Pet Heirs" law strengthens portions of the existing law with regard to pet trusts, for example, ensuring that the trust assets will go to the pet for the pet's benefit, and someone will make sure that the pet benefits and regular accountings be made to the remainder beneficiaries listed in the trust.

A recent California law now gives pets the care they need when their owners pass away, according Antelope Valley estate planning law firm founding partner Kevin L. Von Tungeln.

"Although human owners could always include pets in their estate planning," says Von Tungeln, "California's 'Pet Heirs' law is now strengthened in many aspects, having more 'teeth,' if you will."

He notes the law now broadly defines the term "pet" to include any kind of pet as well as domestic animals and directs the court not to presume the trust language is just honorary or expressing a wish. Von Tungeln also noted that the pet owner can name a trust enforcer to make sure that the pet gets all the care it is entitled to.

Some of the other provisions of the "Pet Heirs" law include: The court can name a trust enforcer if the pet owner did not or if the person named by the pet owner doesn't want to serve; accountings must be regularly given to the people who are listed as remainder beneficiaries; and trust funds must only be used for the benefit of the animal.

Von Tungeln said he has created many trusts that have included pets as beneficiaries. One of his favorite cases involved six show dogs and three show horses. "In this instance, our client was not only concerned about who would care for them, but she also had very detailed instructions for how they were to be cared for when she was gone. We were able to give her great peace of mind with regard to her pets."

"Many people truly care about their pets and are concerned about what should happen to these pets when they're gone," said Von Tungeln. "The 'Pet Heirs' law should give those pet lovers greater peace-of-mind."

About Thompson Von Tungeln
Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) offers sophisticated estate planning and administration for the affluent, discriminating client. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve these clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand. For more information, contact TVT at 661-945-5868 or visit their website at

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