Friday, August 31, 2007

Where there's a will...

It’s good to be Trouble - if you’re a certain white Maltese of that name: you’d be the recipient of a $12 million trust fund, courtesy of the estate of Leona Helmsley.

Twenty percent of Americans have wills, and of those, ninety percent go uncontested. Still, that means that of all the Americans alive today, six million lawsuits will eventually be filed over their estates.

Like one Mary Murphy, who left her modest $200,000 estate to Pets Unlimited. The only problem was that Miss Murphy’s will also called for her collie-sheep dog Sido to be put to sleep, presumably so they could be together in the after-life. The State of California stepped in and passed a law saving Sido’s life and postponing the reunion with his master.

Mary and Leona have nothing on Countess Carlotta Liebenstein who in 1991 left her entire $80 million estate to her dog, Gunther. Rumor has it that subsequent generations of Gunthers have built quite a mansion collection, including a home previously owned by Madonna. I wonder where they get their investment advice.

One conclusion is clear: If these wills are any indication of a trend, the country is going to the dogs.

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