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Re-run of Leona Helmsley’s Estate

Remember when hotel magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog Trouble? It’s happened again! The late Miami heiress Gail Posner who recently died in Miami left $3 million to her dog Conchita and 2 other dogs who will live in her 7 bedroom $8.3 million mansion cared for by housekeepers, bodyguards, and other staff members who themselves were left a total of $26 million. Mrs. Posner’s son Bret received a mere $1 million. He has challenged the trust alleging undue influence and fraud on the part of the staff memers and the attorney who drafted the trust.

If you want to provide for your pet after your death, there are several ways you can do it with a lot less money. The most common way is to leave a designated amount to a friend or family member to care for your pet. This would be a non-enforceable bequest so you need to be sure that the person you choose will follow through. You could also leave a monetary gift to a charity that will keep your pet for a fixed fee. Apet trust is another way to provide for a pet and it is enforceable by the court. You leave a certain amount of money or percentage of your estate to fund a pet trust for your pet(s). The trust is enforceable by a person named in the trust or by a person appointed by the probate court, any other person interested in the welfare of animals, or a nonprofit charity who cares for animals. The pet’s care is taken care of and after the pet dies, there are remainder beneficiaries who inherit the balance of your estate.

Often clients care as much about their pet as they do about the rest of their personal property. We can draft provisions for your pets in your own revocable living trust or we can create a “stand alone” trust for your pets. Contact us at Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation for a complimentary consultation.

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