Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, April 17, 2009

Maryland authorizes statutory pet trusts

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

Here are some of the key features of this statute:

  • 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)]

For detailed information on pet trusts and estate planning for clients who own pets, see Estate Planning for Pet Owners.

Special thanks to Robert C. Young (Stewart, Plant & Blumenthal, LLC, Baltimore, Maryland) for being the first reader to bring this development to my attention.


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Tracked on Apr 18, 2009 3:40:12 PM


I assume the Rule Against Perpetuities doesn't apply because there is the possibility of a pet outliving an individual for more than 21 years. This may create an interesting loophole, though: I see no restrictions on what kind of animal can be cared for by such a trust. Tortoises can live for 150 years, and at least one koi fish has been recorded as living for over 220 years.

Posted by: APR | Apr 17, 2009 8:46:47 AM

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