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Animal Law: Secondary Sources

Research Starting Point

A quick read and thorough explanation to the concept and history of pet trusts is located at the Animal Law Resource Center. The Animal Law Resource Center is also a good tool for browsing statutes and cases online for free. 

Book Feature

Pet Trust Practice Guide Samples

State Practice Series are practical, useful guides and sample forms for attorneys who encounter a particular legal scenario. These sample legal forms and brief summaries and the annotations that follow them will prove useful for someone who is new to the practice of law or new to pet trusts. Citations are from Westlaw.

1. Missouri Practice Series § 20:305 

2. Missouri Practice Series § 20:306-another form

3. Washington Practice Series § 2:63 Preparing pet care trust documents

4. Washington Practice Series § 8.15 Pet Trusts

5. Michigan Legal Forms § 5:30 Pet Trust-Trust for a pet or domestic animal.

Animal Legal and Historical Center

The Animal Legal & Historical Center of Michigan State University is the most comprehensive research resource for all things animal law, and the subject of pet trusts is no exception. It is also free to anyone with internet access, and provides citations for all resources if you would like to view certain publications, statutes, regulations, etc. on a legal research database like Westlaw or Lexis. If you search "pet trusts" in the search bar on the home page, results will generate information for every state with a pet trust provision in the probate code. A Brief Overview of Pet Trust Laws by Rebecca F. Wisch (Michigan State University 2008) is the best general explanation of pet trust laws.

Law Review Articles

The following are law review articles that track the evolution of pet trusts in America and are a good primer for understanding pet trusts generally. Citations are from Westlaw.

1. 13 Quinnipiac Prob. L.J. 419 “Pet” Project for State Legislatures: The Movement Toward Enforceable Pet Trusts in the Twenty-First Century" by Jennifer R. Taylor. This article provides a brief history of pet trusts as well as state-by-state comparisons in a discussion about the evolution of pet trusts over time.

2. 18 Animal L. 1: "The Statutory Pet Trust: Recommendations for a New Uniform Law Based on the past Twenty-One Years" by Shidon Aflatooni. This article discusses the uniform probate code and uniform trust code pet trust provisions as well as state statutes and proposes a model pet trust statute.

3. 76 UMKC L. Rev. 1109: "America Gets What It Wants: Pet Trusts and a Future for its Companion Animals" by Breahn Vokolek. This article focuses on the cultural shift in attitudes about pets and how pet trust law is affected by that shift. 

Sample Pet Trust Agreement-Indiana

26 Ind. Prac., Anderson's Wills, Trusts & Est. Plan. § 3:215 (2014-2015 ed.)
Indiana Practice Series TM
Anderson's Wills, Trusts And Estate Planning
Database Updated October 2014
Aline F. Anderson, Diane Kennedy
Chapter 3. Will Provisions and Their Use
VIII. Other Provisions Affecting Bequests and Disposition of Estate
F. Care of Pets
Citation from Westlaw
§ 3:215. Trust provisions stipulating pet care
I give and bequeath the sum of  [amount, in words] Dollars ($) to  [name of trustee] as Trustee of a Trust for the use and benefit of my  [dog/cat] [name of pet]. This trust shall be administered for said pet as enumerated below:

A. The income generated by this trust shall be paid to  [name individual] who has agreed to take over the care and custody of my  [dog/cat] and provide  [him/her] with a loving home.

B. In the event that income generated by this trust is not sufficient to provide the necessary care for my pet, then the Trustee within its sole discretion may also utilize the trust principal on my pet's behalf.

C. The Trustee shall confer on a regular basis with my pet's care giver to make sure that the care giver has adequate funds to provide the appropriate care for my pet. Income and principal are to be utilized to provided my pet with it special dietary food, veterinary expenses, medicines, possible operations, and professional grooming on at least a monthly basis. I direct the Trustee to be liberal in its determination of sums to be utilized under this provision.

D. I direct that my  [dog/cat] shall receive an annual physical with its established veterinarian and shall receive tests, x-rays and needed care per the direction of Dr.  [name veterinary] who has been caring for  [him/her] over the past years.

E. This trust shall continue until the death of my  [dog/cat]. Upon the death of my [dog/cat] its remains shall be cremated and the remains given to the care provider who will see that the remains are properly interred in accordance with the instructions I have provided.

F. In the event that there is any balance remaining in this trust, then the balance held in the trust shall be paid over to  [name of animal care center, charitable organization, or individual], and said trust shall terminate.