WealthAdvisors published the story last fall of a Bronx widow who left $300,000 to her two cats in her will, along with instructions that the funds be used to make sure the felines, Troy and Tiger, would “never be caged” and always be lovingly cared for.
That’s a lot of Meow Mix, according to the article, “New York Widow Leaves $300G To Her Cats.”
Tiger struck it especially rich. This former alley cat is now living the high life in sunny Florida, dining on filet mignon-flavored Fancy Feast and napping in a plush faux-fur bed with silk lining.
“He deserves it,” said Dahlia Grizzle, the former home health aide to the late Ellen Frey-Wouters and now Tiger’s caretaker. “He’s a wonderful cat.”
Frey-Wouters was a native of the Netherlands, who worked for the United Nations. She died in 2015 at age 88. Her husband was a Brooklyn College professor who died in 1989. They had just one child who died in infancy.
“The cats were like her babies,” Grizzle said.
Her attorney was surprised when Frey-Wouters suggested that she leave the large sum to her cats.
The attorney said he didn’t think that $300,000 was necessary. He pointed out the case of Leona Helmsley, who left $65,000 to a dog and became a subject of some amusement. In fact, Helmsley left $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble.
Frey-Wouters insisted that her cats be taken care of.
Generally, a pet owner can’t leave any part of his or her estate outright to a pet, but the owner can leave a sum of money to the person designated to care for the pet, along with a request that the money be used for the pet's care. As an alternative, a pet trust is a legal arrangement to provide care for a pet after its owner dies. Either of these options should be discussed with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: WealthAdvisors (September 7, 2017) “New York Widow Leaves $300G To Her Cats”