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New York State’s Pet Trust Statute

New York State’s current statute which legalizes the recognition of a pet trust (commonly known as the “pet trust law”), E.P.T.L §7-8.1, states that such trust shall automatically terminate “when no living animal is covered by the trust, or at the end of twenty-one years, whichever occurs earlier.” While this time period is likely to be sufficient for the life expectancy of most domestic pets, it clearly is not sufficient for other animals, most notably horses and parrots. As the statute is presently written, “[u]pon termination, the trustee shall transfer the unexpended trust property as directed in the trust instrument or, if there are no such directions in the trust instrument, the property shall pass to the estate of the grantor.” The first portion of this sentence would allow the unexpended trust property to be transferred to the trustee with the direction that it be used to care for the animal. However, this is imperfect because the trust no longer would exist, so there no longer would be any mechanism to enforce that direction. Thus, the trustee could choose not to do the right thing and there would be no way to stop him or her.

Should New York State’s twenty-one year statutory limit on the duration of pet trusts be eliminated?

Is there any down side to removing that limit? If so, what is it?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 18, 2008 2:36 PM.

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