Pet Care

Pet Trust Laws

Four small dogs standing in a paw shaped dog bed

As of 2012, 46 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted pet trust laws. The states that have not enacted pet trust laws are: Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota and Mississippi. If you live in one of these 4 states, please visit our Alternative Options section for other ways to secure your pet’s future.

Note: Some states impose funding limits for pet trusts that permit the court to reduce and/or redirect trust property determined to be in excess of the intended use set forth in the trust instrument. Please consult your states full pet trust statute or a licensed attorney for further information.

Alabama
Code of Ala. § 19-3B-408
Year of Enactment: 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Alaska
Alaska Stat. § 13.12.907
Year of Enactment: 1996

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a designated domestic or pet animal. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust, or at the end of 21 years, whichever occurs earlier.

Arizona
A.R.S. § 14-10408, (§ 14-2907)
Year of Enactment: 2008, (1994)
Amended: (2009)

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Arkansas
A.C.A. § 28-73-408
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

California
Cal Prob Code § 15212
Year of Enactment: 2008

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, the trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Colorado
C.R.S. 15-11-901
Year of Enactment: 1994
Amended: 1995

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of designated domestic or pet animals and the animals’ offspring in gestation. Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, the trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust. The determination of the “animals’ offspring in gestation” is made at the time the designated domestic or pet animals become present beneficiaries of the trust.

Connecticut
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-489a
Year of Enactment: 2009

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s or testator’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust. The trust shall designate a “trust protector” whose sole duty is to act on behalf of the animal or animals.

Delaware
12 Del. C. § 3555
Year of Enactment: 2006
Amended: 2008

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of one or more specific animals alive during the trustor’s lifetime. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

District of Columbia
D.C. Code § 19-1304.08
Year of Enactment: 2004

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Florida
Fla. Stat. § 736.0408
Year of Enactment: 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Georgia
O.C.G.A. § 53-12-28
Year of Enactment: 2010

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Hawaii
HRS § 560:7-501
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

Idaho
Idaho Code § 15-7-601
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A “purpose trust” may be created for a non-charitable purpose where there is no beneficiary. As a result, a purpose trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals.

Illinois
§ 760 ILCS 5/15.2
Year of Enactment: 2004

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

Indiana
Ind. Code Ann. § 30-4-2-18
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Iowa
Iowa Code § 633A.2105
Year of Enactment: 1999

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

Kansas
K.S.A. § 58a-408
Year of Enactment: 2002

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Maine
18-B M.R.S. § 408
Year of Enactment: 2003

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Maryland
Md. Estates and Trusts Code Ann. § 14-112
Year of Enactment: 2009

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Massachusetts
ALM GL ch. 203, § 3C
Year of Enactment: 2010

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, the trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Michigan
MCLS § 700.2722
Year of Enactment: 1998
Amended: 2009

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a designated domestic or pet animal. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust, or at the end of 21 years, whichever occurs earlier.

Missouri
§ 456.4-408 R.S.Mo.
Year of Enactment: 2004

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Montana
Mont. Code Anno., § 72-2-1017
Year of Enactment: 1993
Amended: 1995

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a designated domestic or pet animal. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust, or at the end of 21 years, whichever occurs earlier.

Nebraska
R.R.S. Neb. § 30-3834
Year of Enactment: 2003

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Nevada
Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 163.0075
Year of Enactment: 2001

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of one or more animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

New Hampshire
RSA 564-B:4-408
Year of Enactment: 2004

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

New Jersey
N.J. Stat. § 3B:11-38
Year of Enactment: 2001

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a domesticated animal. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust, or at the end of 21 years, whichever occurs earlier.

New Mexico
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 46A-4-408, (§ 45-2-907)
Year of Enactment: 2003, (1995)

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

New York
NY CLS EPTL § 7-8.1
Year of Enactment: 1996
Amended: 2010

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a designated domestic or pet animal. The trust terminates when the animal beneficiary or beneficiaries of such trust are no longer alive.

North Carolina
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 36C-4-408
Year of Enactment: 1995
Amended: 2005, 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals alive at the time of the creation of the trust. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

North Dakota
N.D. Cent. Code, § 59-12-08
Year of Enactment: 2007

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Ohio
ORC Ann. 5804.08
Year of Enactment: 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Oklahoma
60 Okl. St. § 199
Year of Enactment: 2010

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of designated domestic or pet animals. Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, the trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

Oregon
ORS § 130.185
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Pennsylvania
20 Pa.C.S. § 7738
Year of Enactment: 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Rhode Island
R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-23-1
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

South Carolina
S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7-408
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive or in gestation during the settlor’s lifetime, whether or not alive at the time the trust is created. The trust terminates upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

South Dakota
S.D. Codified Laws § 55-1-21, § 55-1-22, § 55-1-23
Year of Enactment: 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a designated animal. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

Tennessee
Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-15-408
Year of Enactment: 2004
Amended: 2007

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust. However, the trust is not valid for more than 90 years.

Texas
Tex. Prop. Code § 112.037
Year of Enactment: 2005

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Utah
Utah Code Ann. § 75-2-1001
Year of Enactment: 1998
Amended: 2003

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of a designated domestic or pet animal. The trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

Vermont
14A V.S.A. § 408
Year of Enactment: 2009
Effective: 2012

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the grantor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Virginia
Va. Code Ann. § 55-544.08
Year of Enactment: 2005
Amended: 2006

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Washington
Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 11.118.005 – 11.118.110
Year of Enactment: 2001

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of one or more animals. Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, the trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust. However, the trust is not valid for more than 150 years.

West Virginia
W. Va. Code § 44D-4-408
Year of Enactment: 2011
Summary of law:
A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

Wisconsin
Wis. Stat. § 701.11
Year of Enactment: 1969
Amended: 1989

Summary of law: An “honorary trust” may be created for a non-charitable purpose where there is no definite human beneficiary as long as that purpose is not capricious. As a result, an honorary trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals.

Wyoming
Wyo. Stat. § 4-10-409
Year of Enactment: 2003

Summary of law: A trust may be created for the care of an animal or animals alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal, or upon the death of the last surviving animal covered by the trust.

*The Year of Enactment is the year the law was passed by the state legislature

Last updated: 2/1/2012
 

Alternative Options

If your state has not enacted a pet trust law and/or you are interested in what else you can do to plan for the care of an animal, please review the options listed below.

Option 1: Life Trust
Pet owners have the option of creating a living trust for their pets. Such a trust appoints a caretaker and creates a monetary gift for the caregiver, conditioned on their continued care of the pet owner’s animal in the event of the pet owner’s death. If the conditions are not met, the money in the trust will go back to the pet owner’s estate and will not be given to the caretaker.

Option 2: Will
Pet owners have the option of putting a provision in their will for the care of their pets. Such provisions designate a caretaker and commonly set aside an amount of money with a request for the money to be used by the caretaker in the care of the pets. Pet owners can provide alternative caretakers if the original is unable or unwilling to accept the animals and can designate temporary guardians for pets while estate issues are being settled.

Caveat when using Option 2: Unlike a trust arrangement for the care of a pet, there is no continuing obligation for the executor under a will to see to the well being of the pet once the administration of an estate is complete. The integrity and moral commitment of the caregiver will be your only assurance that the pet’s care will continue. Therefore, choose your primary caregiver and alternate caregiver, wisely.

Option 3: Humane Society
Consider making arrangements with a humane society, animal rescue group or animal “rest home” to take possession and care of your pet. You should review the type of care offered by each organization, its facility and staff, as well as the costs associated with that care.