Including Your Pet in a North Dakota Will

Thinking about making arrangements for your beloved pet? How do you structure your Will to provide for your beloved four legged friend?
In order to ensure your pet is properly cared for, you may name a beneficiary to inherit your animal in your North Dakota Will. Note that the person is not required to accept your pets. You should discuss the situation with the beneficiary first to make sure they are willing and able to take on the responsibility for the duration of your pet’s life. You may also like to leave that person a gift in your North Dakota Last Will and Testament. However, you cannot impose conditions that the money or property is only to be used for the benefit of your pet. The gift is a mere ‘thank you’ for looking after your domestic animal. The only way to provide for your pet financially is to set up a trust in your Will. However, you may only leave an amount that is reasonable for the care and maintenance of the designated animal(s). The court has the power to reduce the trust funds and distribute any excess to your successors. You should name a trustee (the person to manage the trust property), another person to enforce the trust (this can be the actual carer of your pet) and also beneficiaries who are to receive any excess or remaining property once the trust ends. The benefit of including your pet in a North Dakota Will is that the conditions you stipulate are all enforceable by the court. Your animal in effect gets a voice and you can rest assured it will be cared for. The pet trust statute is set forth in title 59 trusts, of the North Dakota code: 59-12-08. (408) Trust for care of animal. 1. A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor’s lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal. 2. A trust authorized by this section may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if no person is so appointed, by a person appointed by the court. A person having an interest in the welfare of the animal may request the court to appoint a person to enforce the trust or to remove a person appointed. 3. Property of a trust authorized by this section may be applied only to its intended use, except to the extent the court determines that the value of the trust property exceeds the amount required for the intended use. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, property not required for the intended use must be distributed to the settlor, if then living, otherwise to the settlor’s successors in interest.

Comments are closed.