You may remember the surprising news that the late Leona Helmsley left a $12 million bequest in her will for her Maltese dog named Trouble. With the large bequest, Helmsley’s will provided that Trouble would continue to enjoy the same opulent life even after Helmsley’s passing. In addition to the money, Helmsely’s will also provided that Trouble would be buried next to Helmsley in the family mausoleum. Helmsely’s will also set aside an additional $3 million for cleaning and maintenance of the mausoleum. With the $12 million gift, Trouble was apparently the recipient of one of the largest single individual trusts from Helmsley’s fortune, estimated to be worth $4 billion.
Now it appears that poor Trouble will not receive the entire gift and have to survive on a mere $2 million. Helmsley’s grandchildren alleged that Helmsley was not mentally competent when she signed the 2005 will which left the large bequest to Trouble. According to this article in the New York Post, a Manhattan judge approved an agreement to reduce Trouble’s inheritance from $12 million to $2 million. Under the new deal, $10 million of Trouble’s bequest will go to Helmsley’s large charitable foundation.
It seems only appropriate that Leona Helmsley, dubbed by some as the “Queen of Mean” would have an equally controversial animal. According to a former housekeeper, Trouble slept in Helmsley’s bed and was fed chef-prepared meals in porcelain bowls and silver trays. This same housekeeper actually sued Helmsley for nerve damage she allegedly suffered after being repeatedly bitten by the animal. Trouble’s care taker estimated Trouble’s annual expenses at $190,000 including an estimated $100,000 for the dog’s security squad (which was apparently warranted because of the alleged death threats against Trouble). Given that Trouble is already nine years old, Trouble’s trustees did not oppose the settlement, apparently believing $2 million was adequate for Trouble’s care.
Latest posts by Scott Schomer, Estate Planning Attorney (see all)
- What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Living Trust? - January 15, 2019
- Why Avoid Probate? - January 10, 2019
- When Do I Need a Tax ID Number for a Trust? - January 9, 2019