Trust attorneys come across all kinds of strange wishes. Many people like leaving money for pets; sometimes they take their animal fondness to absurd levels.
Leona Helmsley was known to all as the “Queen of Mean.” She gained fame in the late 1980s when she was charged with -– and found guilty of -– tax evasion. She reportedly felt that “Only the little people pay taxes.”
Maybe she regretted her ways in later life. After she died in 2007, it was publicly revealed that her trust left the bulk of her vast estate -- reportedly worth four to eight billion dollars -- to charity. Or more specifically, to benefit dogs. She left her own dog, a Maltese named Trouble, the biggest share, with a $12 million dollar trust fund. Earlier court proceedings reduced this amount considerably.
Recently, a probate judge in New York answered the remaining big question -- did she really want to leave all of that money for dogs alone? Her trust's mission statement directed that her money be used for the care and welfare of dogs. Initially, she wanted to help indigent people first, and dogs second. But Helmsley apparently changed her mind (maybe the "little people" didn't deserve her money after all) and removed the part about helping poor people and left only instructions to benefit dogs.