Leaving Fido all your worldly goods may sound like a good way to treat man’s best friend, but what happens to the inheritance after a pet dies is a matter of debate.
American inheritance law is trapped in an outdated family paradigm that assumes a closest relative by blood, adoption, or marriage is the most deserving recipient of an estate—not recognizing a pet may be someone’s nearest and dearest.
The issue has been in the news recently. British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who died in February, left a sizeable sum of money to his beloved dogs—and Trouble, the recently deceased dog of Leona Helmsley, famously inherited $12 million. It’s not just wealthy celebrities leaving provisions for pets in their wills. Between 12-27 percent of owners do so.
“Poor Trouble already had her bequest reduced to $2 million among other problems with the inheritance,” says Adrienne Davis, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “The remainder of Trouble’s money will go to Helmsley’s charitable trust. And yet, the legal issues do not end there.”
Full story at Futurity.
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