Tag Archive for 'pet trusts'

Maryland Authorizes Pet Trusts

On April 14, 2009, Maryland’s Governor O’Malley signed into law House Bill 149 which authorizes statutory pet trusts.

Professor Berry gives us some of the key features of the statute in this post:

  • The animal must be alive during the settlor’s lifetime.  [Est. & Trusts § 14-112(A)]
  • The trust ends at the death of the last animal covered by the trust.  [§ 14-112(B)]
  • If the settlor did not appoint someone to enforce the trust, the court may appointed an enforcer.  [§ 14-112(C)(1)]
  • A person with an interest in the welfare of the animal may ask the court to appoint an enforce or to remove an enforcer who is not doing his/her job.  [§ 14-112(C)(2)]
  • Trust property may be used only for the pet’s benefit unless the court finds that the value of the trust property is excessive.  [§ 14-112(D)(1)]
  • If the settlor did not provide express directions, excess trust property passes to the settlor (if still alive) or to the settlor’s successors in interest if the settlor is dead.  [§ 14-112(D)(2)]
  • These provisions apply only to pet trusts created on or after October 1, 2009.  [H.B. 149, § 2]
  • The Rule Against Perpetutities does not apply to pet trusts.  [§ 110102(b)(12)]

Thanks again Professor.  How did I ever bog without you?!

Order Issued On Helmsley Trust

Its been a while since I posted anything on Leona Helmsley’s estate/trust troubles but this morning Professor Berry published this post about an order having issued by the court.

The trustees had filed an action asking the court to determine the scope of their discretion to apply trust funds for charitable purposes. 

The “mission statement” of the trust dated March 1, 2004 provides that the trustees may make grants for “(1) purposes related to the provision of care for dogs; and (2) such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”

The trustees asserted that this mission statement was revoked by later documents. 

The Attorney General of the State of New York, representing potential charitable beneficiaries, successfully claimed that this issue is irrelevant because the trust expressly states that the trustee’s discretion is not limited by mission statements. 

Accordingly, the court held that “the trustees may apply trust funds for such charitable purposes and in such amounts as they may, in their sole discretion, determine.”

Thanks Professor…  I had been wondering where this case went.