Beginning September 1, 2010, Oklahoma pet owners will have an additional tool to use to provide care for their pets after the owners are no longer able to provide the needed care.
On May 12, 2010, Governor Brad Henry signed HB 1641. This bill allows individuals to create trusts where their pets are the initial beneficiary. As long as the pet is alive, the Trustee has to provide care to the pet (or pay a caregiver). A separate trust enforcer is appointed by the Owner to ensure the Trustee is living up to the obligations established by the Owner. After the pet passes away, any leftover funds are distributed to named individuals or successors appointed by the Owner.
[Pet trusts were not allowed under prior Oklahoma law because the Courts did not view a pet as a “legal” beneficiary. If there is no named beneficiary, there is no one to enforce the trust. This new law addresses this issue by having a separate trust protector appointed.]
This law ensures two things for an owner concerned about his pet’s welfare after the owner is no longer able to provide the necessary care: 1) The owner can rest assured that any funds left for the pet will be used for the pet’s care because there will be at least two separate people administering the funds; and 2) The owner can name anyone willing to serve, thus ensuring that a kind and caring person is named as Trustee or caregiver.
If you would like to know more about these new trusts or if you are interested in creating one for your furry loved ones, do not hesitate to contact our office for more information.
Attorney at Law