A Question Of Sanity

 |  Feb 26th 2009  |   9 Contributions


Leona Helmsley's trustees were questioning her sanity when she revised her will in 2004. Requesting a judge to review the revisions leaving $12 million dollars to care for her dogs, while cutting out her two of her grandchildren.

A 2004 revision to the mission statement of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust ordered that the money should be used for "purposes related to the provision of care for dogs" as well as other charities.

Prior to the will being changed the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust had included money for such causes as health care for the poor, with an emphasis on children.

The Helmsley trustees, who include her brother and two of her four grandchildren, had sought the ruling from Manhattan Surrogate Court Justice Troy Webber after reports that the funds would be applied only to dog-related charities.

In a decision made public Wednesday, a Manhattan judge ruled that the trustees of the Queen of Mean's estate can spread her estimated $5 billion fortune among charities that benefit more than just man's best friend.

When Trouble, Helmsley's Maltese, passes the remaining money will go back to the charitable fund. In the meantime, the dog's yearly expenses run about $300,000. About $210,000 go to around-the-clock protection.

Okay, leaving $12 million to your dogs may be a bit excessive, but can you imagine all the good the leftover money could have done to help out dog charities. If someone chooses to leave money to their dogs, rather than their grandchildren, does that make them insane? Maybe she received unconditional love from her dogs.

While Leona Helmsley may have been rather eccentric, I think the one sane decision she made was to leave her money to help out dog charities.

* Pic courtesy Graylock/AP

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