BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1520
                                                                  Page  1


          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 1520 (Gatto)
          As Amended April 23, 2014
          Majority vote 

           JUDICIARY           10-0                                        
           
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          |Ayes:|Wieckowski, Wagner,       |     |                          |
          |     |Alejo, Chau, Dickinson,   |     |                          |
          |     |Garcia, Gorell,           |     |                          |
          |     |Maienschein, Muratsuchi,  |     |                          |
          |     |Stone                     |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Permits a court to appoint a guardian ad litem to  
          represent the interests of a pet who is the subject of a pet  
          trust.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Permits the court, on its own motion or on request of the  
            trustee, a beneficiary of the trust, a person interested in  
            the welfare of the animal, or a nonprofit charitable  
            organization that has as its principal activity the care of  
            animals, to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the  
            interest of an animal that is subject to a trust for the care  
            of that animal.  

          2)Provides that the reasonable expenses of the guardian ad litem  
            shall be determined by the court and paid as the court orders,  
            either out of the property of the trust or from such other  
            source as the court orders.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Provides that a trust may be created for the care of an  
            animal, as provided.  Permits any beneficiary, any person  
            designated by the trust instrument or the court to enforce the  
            trust.  Allows any nonprofit organization that cares for  
            animals, upon reasonable request, to inspect the animal and  
            the premises where the animal is maintained.  Defines "animal"  
            as one or more domestic or pet animals for whose benefit the  
            trust was established.  









                                                                  AB 1520
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          2)Permits the court, on its own motion or on request of a  
            personal representative, guardian, conservator, trustee, or  
            other interested person, to appoint a guardian ad litem at any  
            stage of a proceeding under the Probate Code to represent the  
            interest of any of the following persons, if the court  
            determines that representation of the interest otherwise would  
            be inadequate:  a) a minor; b) an incapacitated person; c) an  
            unborn person; d) an unascertained person; e) a person whose  
            identity or address is unknown; or f) a designated class of  
            persons who are not ascertained or are not in being.  Provides  
            that the reasonable expenses of the guardian ad litem shall be  
            determined by the court and paid as the court orders, either  
            out of the property of the estate involved or by the  
            petitioner or from such other source as the court orders.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :  This bill represents the author's experiment in  
          crowdsourcing legislation.  According to the author, the bill is  
          the result of "months of deliberation among the participants of  
          the WikiPage that was established to create and refine  
          legislation limited to the Probate Code."  The result is  
          legislation that seeks to better protect pets when their owners  
          can no longer care for them.  In particular, this bill allows  
          the court to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the  
          interest of an animal who is the subject of a pet trust.  In  
          support of the bill, the author writes:

               As was noted by contributors to the WikiPage:  "The  
               status of animals is inherently more than property as  
               evidenced by animals being able to be beneficiaries of  
               trusts pursuant to legislation.  It makes sense,  
               therefore, that when needed, a guardian ad litem could  
               be appointed for them."

          Current law allows for the establishment of a trust for the  
          benefit of an animal.  The trust has specific rules to protect  
          both the settlor's interests and the interests of the pet.  In  
          particular, the trust provides that the principal or income of  
          the trust may not be converted to the use of the trustee or to  
          any use other than for the benefit of the animal.  The law also  
          provides that trust provisions may be enforced by a person  
          designated for that purpose in the trust instrument or, if no  
          one is designated, by a person appointed by a court.  In  








                                                                  AB 1520
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          addition, any person interested in the welfare of the animal or  
          any nonprofit charitable organization that has as its principal  
          activity the care of animals may petition the court regarding  
          the trust.  However, these provisions do not explicitly allow  
          for a guardian ad litem to be appointed to represent the pet's  
          interests.

          A guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to represent the  
          best interest of someone who cannot properly represent himself  
          or herself.  Minors are often appointed guardians ad litem in  
          legal proceedings.  The Probate Code specifically allows for a  
          court to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent, in addition  
          to a child, an incapacitated person, an unborn person, an  
          unascertained person, or a person whose identity or address is  
          unknown or not yet in being.  The court can appoint a guardian  
          ad litem for any of these individuals, on its own motion, or on  
          request of a personal representative, guardian, conservator,  
          trustee, or other interested person, at any stage of a probate  
          proceeding if the court determines that representation of that  
          person's interest otherwise would be inadequate.  The guardian  
          ad litem's reasonable expenses are to be determined by the court  
          and paid as the court orders, either out of the property of the  
          estate involved or by the petitioner or from such other source  
          as the court orders. 

          This bill seeks to protect the interest of pets who are the  
          subject of a pet trust by allowing the court to appoint a  
          guardian ad litem to represent their interests if the court  
          finds that their interests are not otherwise adequately  
          protected.  This gives a court the discretion to protect a pet  
          whose interests are not, for whatever reason, adequately  
          protected by the trustee.


           Analysis Prepared by  :  Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 


                                                                FN: 0003196