Pet Trusts – Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pet trust?
A pet trust is a legal agreement providing for the care and maintenance of pets in the event of its owner’s disability or death. The pet owner creates this trust, which may take effect during his/her life or at death.
What are the pet trust laws in Connecticut?
On July 7, 2009, Governor M. Jodi Rell signed Senate Bill 650 "An Act Concerning the Creation of a Trust for the Care of An Animal" into law. This law allows a pet owner to set up an enforceable pet trust to care for their pets. This will go a long way to ensuring that a person's beloved companion pet will not be neglected or euthanized if they outlive their owner.
This law stipulates that the pet owner designate a "trust protector," whose sole duty is to act on behalf of the animal. A Superior Court or probate court would have jurisdiction over the trust, which would be terminated upon the death of the last surviving animal. The trust protector will have the right to seek legal action to remove or replace a trustee (the individual overseeing the fund) if the money is not being spent on the intended use.
The Connecticut Humane Society recommends seeking legal advice about setting up a pet trust. Pet owners may also want to create a second document to accompany the trust document called a care manual. This manual would be a complete description of the desired and other lifestyle care wanted for the pet and whether heroic medical care and cost should be obtained and paid for by the trust.
Can I put my pet in my will?
Yes, you may put your pet in your will. However, you cannot name your pet as a beneficiary, as animals are legally defined as property. Creating a pet trust is a straightforward way to provide for your pet(s) in the event of your disability or death.
Where can I get more information on pet trusts?
None of the information on the Connecticut Humane Society’s website should be construed as providing legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.