A Dog’s Inheritance: Do Pets Get Rich When Their Humans Die?

ImageAs a reward for being our constant companions, in sickness and heath, many pets are now included in their owner’s wills.  Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Betty White, along with millions of other pet owners, plan to leave money for their pets.   But, without proper planning, the courts could take that money away!

Strange requests in wills are nothing new.  People have asked for their ashes to be spread in space or for their bodies to be displayed in a theater.  Recently, billionaire Leona Helmsley made news after her death by bequeathing $12 million dollars for the care and upkeep of her dog, Trouble.  Opinions varied from outrage to amusement and a legal battle was narrowly averted when a New York court reduced that amount to a mere $2 million.

It is only natural for pet owners to be concerned about the well-being of their four-legged companions, especially if the owner happens to die first.  But the unfortunate truth is that many pet owners attempt to leave an inheritance to their pets instead of money for their pets.  This error could lead to your request not being met by the probate court.