Alabama's pet trust law was enacted in 2006. 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.
§ 19-3B-110. Others treated as qualified beneficiaries.
(a) Whenever notice to qualified beneficiaries of a trust is required under this chapter, the trustee must also give notice to any other beneficiary who has sent the trustee a request for notice.
(b) A charitable organization expressly designated to receive distributions under the terms of a charitable trust has the rights of a qualified beneficiary under this chapter if the charitable organization, on the date of the charitable organization's qualification is being determined:
(1) is a distributee or a permissible distributee of trust income or principal;
(2) would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal upon the termination of the interests of other distributees or permissible distributees then receiving or eligible to receive distributions; or
(3) would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the trust terminated on that date.
(c) A person appointed to enforce a trust created for the care of an animal or another noncharitable purpose as provided in Section 19-3B-408 or 19-3B-409 has the rights of a qualified beneficiary under this chapter.
(d) The Attorney General of this state has the rights of a qualified beneficiary when the charitable interest to be represented would qualify under subsection (b) but no charitable organization has been expressly designated to receive distribution under the terms of a charitable trust.
(Act 2006-216, p. 314, § 1.)
Comparison to Uniform Code. Section 110 is the same as Section 110 of the Uniform Trust Code (2001), except for subsection (d), which is re-written for clarification.
Purpose and scope. Under the Uniform Trust Code, certain notices need be given only to the "qualified" beneficiaries. For the definition of "qualified beneficiary," see Section 103(13). Among these notices are notice of a transfer of the trust's principal place of administration (Section 108(d)), notice of a trust division or combination (Section 417), notice of a trustee resignation (Section 705(a)(1)), and notice of a trustee's annual report (Section 813(c)). Subsection (a) of this section authorizes other beneficiaries to receive one or more of these notices by filing a request for notice with the trustee.
Under the Code, certain actions, such as the appointment of a successor trustee, can be accomplished by the consent of the qualified beneficiaries. See, e.g., Section 704 (filling vacancy in trusteeship). Subsection (a) only addresses notice, not required consent. A person who requests notice under subsection (a) does not thereby acquire a right to participate in actions that can be taken only upon consent of the qualified beneficiaries.
Charitable organizations . Charitable trusts do not have beneficiaries in the usual sense. However, certain persons, while not technically beneficiaries, do have an interest in seeing that the trust is enforced. In the case of a charitable trust, this includes the state's attorney general and charitable organizations expressly designated to receive distributions under the terms of the trust. Under subsection (b), charitable organizations expressly designated in the terms of the trust to receive distributions and who would qualify as a qualified beneficiary were the trust noncharitable, are granted the rights of qualified beneficiaries under the Code. Because the charitable organization must be named in the terms of the trust and must be designated to receive distributions, excluded are organizations who may receive distributions only in the trustee's discretion. Requiring that the organization have an interest similar to that of a beneficiary of a private trust excludes in addition organizations holding remainder interests subject to a contingency.
Trusts with a valid purpose but no ascertainable beneficiary . Subsection (c) similarly grants the rights of qualified beneficiaries to persons appointed by the terms of the trust or by the court to enforce a trust created for an animal or other trust with a valid purpose but no ascertainable beneficiary. For the requirements for creating such trusts, see Sections 408 and 409.
Enforcement authority of attorney general. Subsection (d) does not limit other means by which the attorney general can enforce a charitable trust.
2001 Amendment . By amendment in 2001, "charitable organization expressly designated to receive distributions" was substituted for "charitable organization expressly entitled to receive benefits" in subsection (b). The amendment conforms the language of this section to terminology used elsewhere in the Code.
2004 Amendment . Subsection (b) is amended to better conform this provision to the Drafting Committee's intent. Charitable trusts do not have beneficiaries in the usual sense. Yet, such trusts are often created to benefit named charitable organizations. Under this amendment, which is based on the definition of qualified beneficiary in Section 103, a designated charitable organization has the rights of a qualified beneficiary only if it holds an interest similar to that of a qualified beneficiary in a noncharitable trust. The effect of the amendment is to exclude charitable organizations that might receive distributions in the trustee's discretion even though not expressly mentioned in the trust's terms. Also denied the rights of qualified beneficiaries are charitable organizations that hold only remote remainder interests. The previous version of subsection (b) had a similar intent but the language could be read more broadly.
The placing of subsection (d) in brackets recognizes that the role of the attorney general in the enforcement of charitable trusts varies greatly in the states. In some states, the legislature may prefer that the attorney general be granted the rights of a qualified beneficiary. In other states, the attorney general may play a lesser role in enforcement. The expectation is that states considering enactment will adapt this provision to the particular role that the attorney general plays in the enforcement of charitable trusts in their state. Some states may prefer to delete this provision. Other states might provide that the attorney general has the rights of a qualified beneficiary only for trusts in which no charitable organization has been designated to receive distributions. Yet other states may prefer to enact the provision without change.
§ 19-3B-408. Trust for care of animal.
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(Act 2006-216, p. 314, § 1.)