January 30, 2008
By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney
You asked (1) for a summary of a bill authorizing the creation of a pet trust and (2) whether the bill became law.
During the 2005 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly, Senators Kissel and Stillman and Representatives Chapin and Urban sponsored SB 1191, An Act Concerning the Creation of Trusts for the Care of Domestic Animals.
The bill authorized trusts for the care of domestic animals that are alive when the person who created the trust dies. It allowed a natural person, corporation, limited liability company, trust, partnership, incorporated or unincorporated association, or any other legal entity to be selected as trustee.
Under the bill, the trust would have terminated on the earlier of the following occurrences (1) when the animal died, or if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal, when the last surviving animal died or (2) 90 years after its creation.
A person appointed in the trust could enforce it. If no one was named, the bill allowed a court to appoint someone to enforce it. It allowed a person having an interest in the animal's welfare to ask the court to appoint a person to enforce the trust or to remove a person appointed.
The bill specified that trust property authorized to care for an animal could be applied only for its intended use, except to the extent the court determined that the trust's value exceeded the amount required for the intended use. Except as otherwise provided in the trust, property not required for the intended use had to be distributed to the settlor, if living. (A settlor is the person who creates a trust and transfers property to it.) Otherwise, it had to be distributed to the settlor's successors in interest. The bill permitted a trustee to be designated as the person who received the trust assets when the animal the trust benefits died.
The bill was referred to and voted out of the Judiciary Committee. However, it ultimately died in the Judiciary Committee upon recommitment by the Senate.
Several people testified in support of the bill at the Judiciary Committee's March 7, 2005 public hearing. No one testified in opposition. People testifying in support of the bill were:
1. Brad Gallant, partner at Day, Berry and Howard and vice chair of the Connecticut Bar Association's Estate and Probate Section;
2. Linda Huebner, program coordinator for the north east regional office of the U.S. Humane Society;
3. Danielle Ferrucci, trust and estates attorney at Shipman and Goodwin;
4. Richard Johnson, Connecticut Humane Society;
5. Debora Bresch, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and
6. Cheryl Ann Fernandez, Connecticut resident.
Gallant opposed one section of the bill that allowed any entity to serve as a trustee. He argued that the bill should limit the entities allowed to serve as trustees to those with trust powers. In so doing, the bill would be consistent with the Uniform Trust Code and existing Connecticut law by, Gallant stated.