Ms. Marshel was very concerned that her beloved animals, who she called her “cherished children,” were cared for after her death. She had horses, dogs, cats, goats, pigs, and other animals that she cared for on her Riverside County property. She named one of her most trusted friends as caretaker for the pets.
She named other friends and relatives as co-trustees over the trust assets. A son whom she adopted out early in life, came back into her life shortly before her death. The estranged son is the residual beneficiary after all the animals have passed away and through beneficiary designations that were changed shortly before his mother’s death, the estranged son received much of Ms. Marshel’s liquid assets from her estate upon her death. The bulk of the remaining assets include a share in his sister’s estate and the residence and adjoining property where the animals are being cared for. The son does not share Ms. Marshel’s passion for the animals and is interfering with the proper administration of the trust. To make matters worse, both co-trustees live on the East Coast. One co-trustee is only passively involved with the administration of the trust and the other co-trustee appears to be more concerned about details like what type of hay is being fed to the horses and where to obtain it at the cheapest cost as opposed to assuring that the animals have funds available to them for proper care.
In a rare action in the Riverside Probate Court, estate planning attorney Dennis Sandoval is defending Ms. Marshel’s Pet Trust and is representing the animal caretaker to enforce the rights of the animals and assure that the remaining trust funds are properly set aside and used for the care of the animals. At this point it appears that a settlement may be reached to accomplish these goals.
Estate planning lawyer Dennis Sandoval is one of the few attorneys in Riverside who specializes in estate planning for pets and Pet Trusts. He understands the recently enacted California Pet Trust statutes, provisions of which he is using in this lawsuit to enforce the provisions of Ms. Marshell’s Pet Trust. If you have pets and want to provide for them after your death, visit our website to learn more about estate planning for pets and the use of Pet Trusts. Call 951-888-1460 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation in our Riverside law office with Mr. Sandoval to discuss your estate planning needs.