Oklahoma

Posted June 9, 2010
Oklahoma has become the 44th jurisdiction in the United States to have specific legislation authorizing pet trusts. 60 Okla. Stat. ยง 199 will take effect on August 27, 2010 and provides as follows:
(a) A trust for the care of designated domestic or pet animals is valid. Unless the trust instrument provides for an earlier termination, the trust terminates when no living animal is covered by the trust.

(b) The instrument creating the trust shall be liberally construed to bring the transfer within the scope of trusts governed by this section, to presume against the mere precatory or honorary nature of the disposition, and to carry out the general intent of the transferor. Extrinsic evidence is admissible in determining the intent of the transferor.

(c) If a trustee is not designated or no designated or successor trustee is willing or able to serve, a court shall name a trustee. Unless otherwise permitted by the trust, the trustee and the enforcer as provided in subsection D of this section shall not be the same person. The trustee shall be entitled to reasonable trustee fees and expenses for the administration, unless otherwise provided in the trust instrument. The trustee of a trust created in accordance with this section shall ensure that care is provided for the benefit of the animal in accordance with the terms of the trust or, in absence of any terms, shall ensure that care is provided that is reasonable under the circumstances. The trustee may employ agents or contractors to provide any care and pay for the care from the assets of the trust. The trustee shall also ensure that the property of a trust authorized by this section is applied only to its intended use.

(d) A trust authorized by this section may be enforced by a person appointed in the trust instrument, the caretaker of the designated animal or animals, and the remainder beneficiary, or, if none, by an individual appointed by a court upon application to it by an individual.

(e) Accountings otherwise required by law shall be provided to those persons qualified as an enforcer as provided for in subsection D of this section. However, if the value of the assets in the trust does not exceed Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00), no filing, report, registration, periodic accounting, separate maintenance of funds, appointment, or fee shall be required by reason of the existence of the fiduciary relationship of the trustee, unless ordered by the court or required by the trust instrument.

(f) Each trust created pursuant to this section shall identify a remainder beneficiary. If none is named, the trustee shall transfer any unexpended trust property upon termination of the trust to the transferor, if then living, or if not living, to the transferor's successors in interest.

(g) For purposes of Section 175.47 of Title 60 of the Oklahoma Statutes, the beneficiary or beneficiaries in being at the creation of the trust shall include the caretaker of the designated animal or animals and the remainder beneficiaries.

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