Tag: Posner

07 Jul

LOVING YOUR ANIMALS TO DEATH?

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Pets Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

My blog posts this week have been inspired by a Globe and Mail article that a summer student handed to me about the late Gail Posner’s trust provisions for her dogs, Conchita, April Maria and Lucia.

In yesterday’s blog I noted that while Wills are an opportunity for individuals to provide for their loved ones, there is no guarantee that our stated wishes for our beloved companion animals will be sacrosanct. For example, the late Leona Helmsley’s $12-million trust for her dog Trouble was reduced to $2-million by a Manhattan Judge on the ground that the deceased lacked capacity with regard to her Will and the Trust Agreement.

In the Globe and Mail article that inspired my posts this week, Barry Seltzer noted that Canadian legislatures may wish to consider “ante-mortem” probate as a way to ensure capacity does not become an issue in these cases. Ante-mortem probate is a technique used in certain states, including Arkansas, North Dakota, and Ohio, to validate a will while the person is still alive so that it cannot be contested once the person passes away.

In some cases, the wishes of a testator regarding his pets are contrary to public policy and, thus, are held to be void. For example, some pet owners have included clauses in their wills directing that their pets be euthanized upon their death (perhaps because they feel that their animals will be distraught without them). 

In one such case a testator (Mr. Clive Wishart) directed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”) shoot four of his horses. The RCMP refused and the matter was brought to a New Brunswick Court where it was held that the direction to shoot “four healthy animals” was contrary to public policy because doing so would serve “no useful purpose” and “would be a waste of resources and estate assets even if carried out humanely.” 

For those of you interested in reviewing the case, the citation is: Wishart Estate (Re), [1992] N.B.J. No. 547.

Thank you for reading!

Kathryn Pilkington – Click here for more information on Kathryn Pilkington.

06 Jul

DEVOTION TO DOGS A SIGN OF INCAPACITY?

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

Pets are becoming increasingly important to Canadians. According to a 2001 IPSOS-REID "Paws and Claws" pet ownership study, more than half of all Canadian households owned a cat or a dog in 2001, with one third of households owning cats and one-third owning dogs.

Since Wills are an opportunity for individuals to provide for their loved ones, it’s not surprising that people are choosing to make provision for their beloved animal companions. However, there is no guarantee that their wishes will be sacrosanct.

In a recent Globe and Mail article, Barry Seltzer (a Toronto estates lawyer) noted that this was certainly the case for the late Leona Helmsley who left 12 million dollars in Trust for her beloved Maltese named Trouble and left nothing to 2 of her grandchildren for “reasons that are known to them.”   As a result of a Will Challenge (and as noted in an earlier blog post), the Trust was undone by a Manhattan Judge who reduced it to  $2-million (much to the chagrin of Trouble, I am sure) and the disinherited grandchildren were awarded $2-million each. The basis: incapacity.

And because I know you are all wondering about Trouble, let me assure you that while the deceased’s wishes were not carried out exactly as she had intended, recent reports indicate that Trouble is doing just fine! If you don’t believe me, click here.

Yesterday I discussed the more recent headliner involving the Estate of the late heiress Gail Posner who left a mansion valued at approximately $8.3-million as well as $3-million in trust to her 3 dogs, while leaving only $1-million to her only son, Bret Carr. Well, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that Bret Carr has initiated litigation against the Estate. It appears that he is seeking to have his late mother’s Will revoked on the grounds that her level of devotion to her dogs is a sign of mental illness *gasp – dog lovers unite* and that household aids drugged her, convinced her that Bret was trying to kill her and induced her to change her Will and Trust Agreement.

Thank you for reading!

Kathryn Pilkington  – Click here for more information on Kathryn Pilkington.

05 Jul

ANOTHER ESTATE GOES TO THE DOGS

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Pets Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

There has been a great deal of discussion about the late Leona Helmsley who, when she died, left 12 million dollars in Trust for her beloved Maltese Trouble, while leaving nothing to 2 of her grandchildren for “reasons that are known to them.”

Well it’s happened again…another estate is going to the dogs! Our summer student forwarded me a Globe and Mail article discussing the provisions that the late heiress Gail Posner made for the benefit of her fabulously famous Chihuahua Conchita and her 2 other dogs, April Maria and Lucia. These pampered pooches are to receive an $8.3 million mansion and a $3-million trust fund under her estate while the deceased’s only son, Bret Carr, takes a meagre $1-million in comparison.

According to the terms of a Trust Agreement (amended by the late heiress in 2008), so long as she had dogs at the time of her death, the trustees:

1.  are to retain the mansion property (located in Miami Beach) plus a sum of money not more than $3-million to cover the carrying costs of the mansion.

2.  shall pay $5-million to Elizabeth Beckford to care for Conchita, April Maria, and Lucia. I note that the deceased provided that they are to be cared for with “the same degree of care” they received while Posner was alive (which, I suppose, will mean the continuance of their weekly doggie spa appointments).

Upon the death of the dogs, the mansion is to be sold and the proceeds are to go to charity. The remainder of the estate (after certain specific bequests) goes to animal shelters, breast cancer prevention, and suicide-prevention centres.

Those are some lucky dogs (shhhhh – don’t tell my dogs, Digger and Nicky. They’re spoiled enough)

Thank you for reading!

Kathryn Pilkington – Click here for more information on Kathryn Pilkington.

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