Apr 21, 2009

Sad Day in Dogtown: Dogs Get $1 Million; Charities Get $136 Million

sad dog.jpg

Animal rights advocates were thrilled last year when real estate mogul Leona Helmsley's will left the bulk of her fortune to a charity, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, whose mission statement was to make expenditures for "purposes related to the provision of care for dogs."

But a New York judge ruled in February that the trustees for the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust had the sole authority to decide which charities should benefit from her estate.

And today they've announced 53 charitable grants, the bulk of which went to New York City hospitals and medical research centers. $1 million was divided equally among 10 animal rights charities, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and several groups that train guide dogs for the blind.

For more information about providing for your pet after you die, including sample will provisions and a sample contract for vet services, see Every Dog's Legal Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo).