How Connecticut Seniors Can Provide For Their Pets After They Are Gone

More and more of my clients, especially those in their 60s, 70s, and 80s are worried about what will happen to their pets when they are no longer here or no longer able to care for them.

For most pet owners, their pet is a beloved friend and companion and often thought of as a part of the family. It is only natural that pet owners worry about what will happen to their beloved friends when they are no longer there for them.

My advice to my clients is to create a pet trust.

Since October 1, 2009, Connecticut has allowed pet owners to establish legally enforceable trusts dedicated to the care of their pets, commonly referred to, as “pet trusts.” Until then, pet trusts were “honorary,” meaning generally they were not recognized by, or enforceable in, Connecticut courts.

To be valid, a pet trust must

1) terminate when the last surviving animal dies;

2) designate a trustee who is responsible for the care of the pets in accordance with the trust requirements and for spending the money provided in the trust in the ways the pet owner specified;

and 3) designate a trust protector in the trust instrument whose sole duty is to act on behalf of pets provided for in the trust instrument. Otherwise the provisions of Connecticut laws that govern the creation and administration of any trust apply.

The law authorizes the trust protector to go to court to enforce the trust, remove or replace any trustee, or require a trustee to render an account of money spent and actions taken. The court may award costs and attorney’s fees to the trust protector, from the trust property, if the trust protector prevails and the court finds that court action was necessary to fulfill the trust protector’s duty to act on behalf of the pets.

If the trust protector determines that the trustee has used trust property for personal use or has otherwise committed fraud, the trust protector may ask the Attorney General to go to court to enforce the trust, remove or replace any trustee, or seek restitution from the trustee.

In addition, the law allows the trustee or the trust protector to go to court to determine if the trust has more than it needs for its intended use. If a court determines that it does, it may direct the surplus to be distributed in the following order of priority: CLICK HERE FOR PAGE 2

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