Trouble, with Trouble
Yes, it starts with T and rhymes with P and that stands for pool – but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I speak instead of…a dog, and his trust.
Trouble was a dog that Ms. Leona Helmsley acquired after serving 18 months in federal prison. When she died in 2007, she left her Maltese a $12 million trust to care for Trouble. Unfortunately, due to Section 408 of the Uniform Trust Code in the state of New York, a trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive at the settlor’s lifetime, except to the extent a court determines that the value of the trust exceeds the amount required for intended use. Trouble’s trust was reduced by the court to $2M. Ms. Helmsley’s other billions left in a separate trust weren’t used for her intentions in her will either, as only a very small portion of the billions were used to “care for dogs”. Bummer.
What is my point here, you may ask? I’m not sure, other than I find it ironic that Trouble…got into trouble….with Trouble’s inheritance. Can a Maltese live on $2M alone? Not sure. But I do know this: we can’t take it with us when we go, folks. Furthermore, even if we plan for someone to benefit, the dead hand still might not rule from the grave. And, the dead hand here certainly isn’t holding the leash, either, if the court reconfigured the wishes of Ms. Helmsley. Even with the tightest of wills and intentions, the living still have power over the dead and their intent.
Where is Trouble now? I couldn’t find the info online. But hopefully, Trouble can get by with $2M. Maybe the dog is learning how to play pool….