Even “The Dogs” Will Fight Over an Uncertain Will

Leona Helmsley’s shows what happens when basic decisions are left to the Trustees or Personal Representatives. The Humane Society of the United States, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Maddies Fund have has filed suit in New York’s Surrogate Court to overthrow a decision from February 2009 which gave the trustees sole say over what charities receive the Helmsley money. Obviously, they want more.

Remember, Ms. Helmsley died in 2007, leaving nothing to a couple of her grandkids, 12 million dollars for the care of her own dog, and leaving 5+ billion dollars to homeless dogs without specifying what charities would get the money? Well guess what? The charities are now fighting over the money.

The solution is easy and applies to estates with 5 billion dollars or 5 handmade quilts and no money. Be specific. Prepare a will and leave your personal representative or trustee with as few decisions regarding distribution as you can. Certainty avoids arguments while uncertainty breeds disputes.

The cite for the related article from August 13, 1009, is:

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