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Planning Ahead

Trust/Will/Estate Planning (2020)


Are you thinking seriously about the future welfare of your cherished bird when you are no longer here or able to take care of it? Have you decided that SBBS is the right place for your bird to thrive? Let us guide you on the path to making good choices and final wishes for your bird.

Please speak to your attorney (and family) 

  • Consider all the possibilities regarding a home and the monetary means to sustain your bird. 

  • Consider whatever laws limit or allow your decision to stand, according to the state where you live.

  • Once devising a plan you're completely comfortable with, document all your wishes legally and thoroughly so that they will be carried out. 

  • Please visit SBBS to make sure the Sanctuary is the right place for your bird.

  • If SBBS is where you wish you bird to be, please send us copies of all pertinent documents (will, trust, bequest) plus the SBBS Relinquishment form downloadable/printable from


Commonly made bequests include:

  • Designating a fixed dollar amount or percentage of your estate or real property for your bird's lifetime.

  • Naming SBBS as beneficiary of an IRA, life insurance policy, bank account, investment to cover your bird's needs. 

  • Drawing up a separate “pet” or “bird” trust that pays a monthly or annual dividend to SBBS. 

  • Bequeathing what remains of your estate to SBBS after distributions have been made to your heirs.


Decision points to consider about your bird:

  • Do you want your bird to remain in the Sanctuary flock for the rest of its life?

  • Do you want SBBS to rehome your bird, finding the ideal family who will love your bird as you do?

  • How well socialized is your bird to move to SBBS or be adopted by a family through SBBS?

  • Who have you chosen to bring your bird from your home to SBBS?


Determining financial security for your bird depends on its age:

  • What is the life expectancy of your bird based on its species? Subtract your bird's age from that number. That's how long your bird will be at the Sanctuary!

  • SBBS calculates the cost of food and care for a medium parrot (e.g. Amazon or African Grey) at $2000 per year. 

  • Multiply that amount times the remaining years of your bird's life, and add more to cover unexpected veterinary care. That equation will give you the realistic figure SBBS needs to care for your bird.


Wording in your will/trust must be specific:

  • Name and describe the bird coming to SBBS.

  • Specify your bird is to be sent to SBBS upon your death or inability to care for your bird.

  • Name the person temporarily in charge of your your bird until delivery to SBBS. Keep in mind will/trust updating is necessary as executors and/or bird care-giver may change over time.


Suggested wording of bequest to SBBS for your bird's care:

    “I hereby bequeath (description of fixed dollar amount, percentage amount, physical property, proportion of residuary estate, investment) to the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, organized and existing under the laws of the State of California, located at 2430 Lillie Avenue, Summerland CA  93067 (mailing address: PO Box 454, Santa Barbara CA 93067), for its general charitable purposes.”

Funds received specifically to cover care and welfare of your bird will be used only for that purpose. 


Your executor must have a copy of your instructions concerning your bird including:

  • Name and contact information for the temporary care-giver of your bird who will bring it to SBBS

  • Name and contact information for bird's veterinarian

  • Name and contact information for SBBS


Before relinquishing the bird into SBBS care:

Your bird's health must be evaluated by your avian veterinarian who should call SBBS to determine what health tests are required. Your avian veterinarian should have SBBS contact information on file.


Upon arrival at SBBS:

  • The bird!

  • All its health documentation and certificates

  • A description and photo of the bird for identification confirmation

  • Information about the bird's age, all medical records, special needs, likes and dislikes


Thank you for your advance preparation.

Your bird will receive the best care and attention at SBBS for the rest of its life – if that is your wish, or until it is matched to a family as loving and committed as you have been – if that is your wish.

Thank you also for choosing SBBS. All the birds here receive exceptional care, and some need a little extra if they have health or behavior problems. Your generosity for your bird is a wonderful expression of your love. You might also consider a bequest to SBBS's general fund to help care for all the other birds permanently in the care of the Sanctuary. We are honored to serve all these amazing creatures.

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