Delaware Will & Pets

Including your pet in a Delaware Will is easy. Firstly, you need to designate a person to inherit your pet. Secondly, you may create a trust to fund your animal’s maintenance and medical expenses. This ensures pets covered by the trust continue their standard of living after your demise.
The legislation which enables the creation of a pet trust is set out in the Delaware Code, title 12, chapter 35 trusts: § 3555. Trust for care of an animal. (a) A trust for the care of 1 or more specific animals living at the trustor’s death is valid. The trust terminates upon the death of all animals living at the trustor’s death and covered by the terms of the trust. (b) A trust authorized by subsection (a) of this section shall not be invalid because it lacks an identifiable person as beneficiary. (c) A trust authorized by subsection (a) of this section may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if there is no such person or if the last such person no longer is willing and able to serve, by a person appointed by the Court of Chancery. A person who has an interest in the welfare of the animal or animals other than a general public interest may petition the Court of Chancery for an order that appoints a person to enforce the terms of the trust or to remove that person. (d) Property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to its intended use. Upon the termination of the trust, any property of the trust remaining shall be distributed in accordance with the terms of the trust or, in the absence of such terms, as provided in § 3592 of this title. (e) In the case of a trust created in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, a trustor or other owner of an animal for whose benefit the trust was created may transfer ownership of the animal to the trustee at or subsequent to the creation of the trust. Subject to any contrary provision in the trust or other instrument by which ownership of the animal is given or bequeathed, if the person to whom ownership of the animal is given or bequeathed disclaims or releases such ownership, ownership of the animal shall pass to the trustee upon such disclaimer or release. (f) The trustee of a trust created in accordance with subsection (a) of this section shall provide care for the benefit of the animal in accordance with the terms of the trust or, in the absence of any such terms, shall provide care that is reasonable under the circumstances. The trustee may employ agents or contractors to provide any such care and pay for such care from the assets of the trust. (g) For purposes of this section, the term “animal” shall include any nonhuman member of the animal kingdom but shall exclude plants and inanimate objects.

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