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Mark Malachowski
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San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 983-0717


 

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San Francisco Estate, Business, and Investor Immigration Law Blog

Dogfight Over $12 Million Bequest

Real Estate mogul, Leona Helmsley, passed away in 2007. Helmsley left $12 million of her estate to her Maltese dog, Trouble. The will provided that after Trouble’s death, the remainder would go to the charitable foundations that had inherited most of the balance of the estate.

The dogfight started because the will had excluded two of Ms Helmsley’s grandchildren. The grandchildren brought a claim challenging the distribution of the will. As the dispute raged on, the dog Trouble had to be flown by private jet to a secret location after allegedly receiving death threats.

 

The judge ruled that Trouble should only receive $2 million because that amount was adequate to cover expenses for twice the dog's life expectancy. Ten million dollars ($10 million) was awarded to the two grandchildren. Trouble died four years later and the remainder of Trouble’s funds were diverted back to the Helmsley Family Trust for the benefit of the charities.