Posted by: twodogtales | June 11, 2011

World’s richest dog dies; estate planning for pets

It was revealed late last week that the late Leona Helmsley’s dog Trouble had died in December 2010. The only reason that it made the news is that Trouble was very likely one of the world’s wealthiest dogs.

When Helmsley died in 2007, she left many of her direct descendants out of her will. But she bequeathed the eight-year-old Maltese $12 million.

While a judge later reduced the sum to $2 million, Trouble still lived a posh life. She ‘retired’ to Lido Key in Sarasota, Fla., and according to an article in the New York Times, nearly $170,000 a year was spent on food, grooming, and salaries for her caretaker and full-time security guards.

Most of us wouldn’t dream of—not to mention have the financial resources to—leave our pets millions of dollars in our wills. But making sure your pets will be taken care of if you die before they do is an important consideration.

The Humane Society of the United States has advice on making sure your pet is taken care of both immediately and over the long term if you become disabled or die. Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You is available to download in both English and Spanish.

If you want to learn about making legal arrangements for your pet’s care should you die, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a pet trust primer on their website with basic definitions and guidelines that will help you decide whether or not a pet trust will work for you.

All three local states allow statutory pet trusts; The District of Columbia enacted legislation allowing them in 2003, Virginia in 2006 and Maryland in 2009.


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