(a) Subject to this section, a trust for the care of one or more designated domestic or pet animals alive at the time of creation of the trust is valid.
(b) Except as expressly provided otherwise in the trust instrument, no portion of the principal or income may be converted to the use of the trustee or to any use other than for the benefit of the designated animal or animals.
(c) The trust terminates at the death of the animal or last surviving animal. Upon termination, the trustee shall transfer the unexpended trust property in the following order:
(1) As directed in the trust instrument.
(2) If the trust was created in a preresiduary clause in the settlor's will or in a codicil to the settlor's will, under the residuary clause in the settlor's will.
(3) If no taker is produced by the application of subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection, to the settlor, if then living, otherwise to the settlor's heirs determined as of the date of the settlor's death under Chapter 29 of the General Statutes.
(d) The intended use of the principal or income can be enforced by a person designated for that purpose in the trust instrument or, if none, by a person appointed by the clerk of superior court having jurisdiction over the trust upon application to the clerk of superior court by a person.
(e) Except as ordered by the clerk of superior court or required by the trust instrument, no filing, report, registration, periodic accounting, separate maintenance of funds, appointment, bond, or fee is required by reason of the existence of the fiduciary relationship of the trustee.
(f) A governing instrument shall be liberally construed to bring the transfer within this section, to presume against the merely precatory or honorary nature of the disposition, and to carry out the general intent of the settlor. Extrinsic evidence is admissible in determining the settlor's intent.
(g) The clerk of superior court may reduce the amount of the property transferred, if the clerk of superior court determines that the amount substantially exceeds the amount required for the intended use. The amount of the reduction, if any, passes as unexpended trust property under subsection (c) of this section.
(h) If no trustee is designated or if no designated trustee agrees to serve or is able to serve, the clerk of superior court must name a trustee. The clerk of superior court may order the transfer of the property to another trustee, if required to assure that the intended use is carried out and if no successor trustee is designated in the trust instrument or if no designated successor trustee agrees to serve or is able to serve. The clerk of superior court may also make other orders and determinations as are advisable to carry out the intent of the settlor and the purpose of this section.
Added by S.L. 2005-192, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2006. Amended by S.L. 2006- 259, § 13(b), eff. Oct. 1, 2006.
This section and the next section of the Code validate so called honorary trusts. Unlike honorary trusts created pursuant to the common law of trusts, which are arguably no more than powers of appointment, the trusts created by this and the next section are valid and enforceable. For a discussion of the common law doctrine, see Restatement (Third) of Trusts Section 47 (Tentative Draft No. 2, approved 1999); Restatement (Second) of Trusts Section 124 (1959).
This section addresses a particular type of honorary trust, the trust for the care of an animal. Section 409 specifies the requirements for trusts without ascertainable beneficiaries that are created for other noncharitable purposes. A trust for the care of an animal may last for the life of the animal. While the animal will ordinarily be alive on the date the trust is created, an animal may be added as a beneficiary after that date as long as the addition is made prior to the settlor's death. Animals in gestation but not yet born at the time of the trust's creation may also be covered by its terms. A trust authorized by this section may be created to benefit one designated animal or several designated animals.
... Noncharitable trusts ordinarily may be enforced by their beneficiaries. Charitable trusts may be enforced by the State's attorney general or by a person deemed to have a special interest. See Restatement (Second) of Trusts Section 391 (1959). But at common law, a trust for the care of an animal or a trust without an ascertainable beneficiary created for a noncharitable purpose was unenforceable because there was no person authorized to enforce the trustee's obligations.
Sections 408 and 409 close this gap. The intended use of a trust authorized by either section may be enforced by a person designated in the terms of the trust or, if none, by a person appointed by the court. In either case, Section 110(b) grants to the person appointed the rights of a qualified beneficiary for the purpose of receiving notices and providing consents. If the trust is created for the care of an animal, a person with an interest in the welfare of the animal has standing to petition for an appointment. The person appointed by the court to enforce the trust should also be a person who has exhibited an interest in the animal's welfare. The concept of granting standing to a person with a demonstrated interest in the animal's welfare is derived from the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act, which allows a person interested in the welfare of a ward or protected person to file petitions on behalf of the ward or protected person. See, e.g., Uniform Probate Code Sections 5-210(b), 5-414(a).
... If the court determines that the trust property exceeds the amount needed for the intended purpose and that the terms of the trust do not direct the disposition, a resulting trust is ordinarily created in the settlor or settlor's successors in interest. See Restatement (Third) of Trusts Section 47 (Tentative Draft No. 2, approved 1999); Restatement (Second) of Trusts Section 124 (1959). Successors in interest include the beneficiaries under the settlor's will, if the settlor has a will, or in the absence of an effective will provision, the settlor's heirs. The settlor may also anticipate the problem of excess funds by directing their disposition in the terms of the trust. The disposition of excess funds is within the settlor's control. See Section 105(a). While a trust for an animal is usually not created until the settlor's death, subsection (a) allows such a trust to be created during the settlor's lifetime. Accordingly, if the settlor is still living, subsection (c) provides for distribution of excess funds to the settlor, and not to the settlor's successors in interest.
Should the means chosen not be particularly efficient, a trust created for the care of an animal can also be terminated by the trustee or court under Section 414. Termination of a trust under that section, however, requires that the trustee or court develop an alternative means for carrying out the trust purposes. See Section 414(c).
This section and the next section are suggested by Section 2-907 of the Uniform Probate Code, but much of this and the following section is new.
NORTH CAROLINA COMMENT
This section of the Uniform Trust Code validating the creation of trusts for the care of "an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime" was omitted, and the provisions of former G.S. 36A-147 providing for the validity of trusts for the care of 'one or more designated domestic or pet animals alive at the time of creation of the trust" were brought forward in its place.