Real Time Web Analytics

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lawsuit alleges $100,000 trust fund for dog was mismanaged by executor

When Patricia Bowers of New York passed away, her will set up a trust for her dachshund, Winnie Pooh, with $100,000. According to the terms of the trust, the dog's caretaker, Virginia Hanlon, is supposed to receive the income from the trust on a quarterly basis to pay for Winnie Pooh's food, care, and medical bills.

Hanlon has now commenced a lawsuit against the executor of the estate, Harriet Harkavy, saying that she has been receiving only $10 cheques. One cheque she received from the estate bounced. The executor insists that the dog's caretaker has received everything she is supposed to have received under the terms of the will.

You would think this would be a relatively easy matter to figure out. With a decent will and a bit of help from an accountant, this spat should never need the assistance of the courts. However, as is typical of estates, people are at each other's throats. Hanlon and Harkavy both appear to be adamant in their respective positions, and are exchanging snide remarks and insults even in their legal documents. To read about their childish behaviour in more detail, click here to read the story in the New York Post.

I doubt Patricia Bowers ever anticipated that her executor and  her dog-caretaker would be fighting. It sounds as if she took care to determine a suitable amount of money, to choose her representatives, and to have a solid will made. It doesn't make sense that she would knowingly have made two people who dislike each other work together.

Or does it?

Would she have chosen differently had she suspected they'd behave this way? Or did she simply shrug and say "they'll have to learn to get along". Unfortunately, many people do take the easy road and ignore potential conflicts between the various parties to their wills. This leads to exactly what this story shows - people fighting over the estate and wasting time, energy, and estate money.

While estate planning is a matter of applying the law to your specific situation, it's a mistake to think that it's only about that. It involves money, but it also involves people. You must take the inter-personal relationships into account when asking individuals to fill certain roles.

The attached photo of Winnie Pooh appeared in the New York Post article and is credited to Stephen Yang.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails