Extending the 'Slayer Rule' to Four-Legged Legatees
University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, 8 Journal of Animal and Environmental Law, 56 (2017)
17 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2016 Last revised: 8 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 5, 2017
Should the equitable protections of the slayer rule apply to pet beneficiaries inheriting under state pet trust laws? This paper explores this novel question in the field of American estate law. Almost all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted pet trust laws. At the same time, however, these jurisdictions' laws are silent as to whether the slayer rule would protect their pet beneficiaries from harm that would result in the forfeiture of their inheritance. With a modest drafting suggestion, these jurisdictions can extend the rule to a broader definition of beneficiary.
Keywords: pet trusts, slayer rule, estate planning, animal rights
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