Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Heir of the Dog?

Two of Leona Helmsley's grandchildren will inherit $5M each now that the Queen of Mean has passed into the other realm, but the true winner in her death is Trouble, a white Maltese toy dog.

The dog was bequeathed $12M (or between $1M and $2M per pound – you should pardon the expression). No word on whether this is multiplied by 7 when converted to canine currency.

The downside: the fluffy heir's own remains must be interred alongside Leona in the Helmsley mausoleum once the 8-year-old Trouble kicks it (likely around age 14). Tough break, Fido.

Leona's other two grandchildren from her son Jay will inherit nothing, "for reasons that are known to them," she wrote in her will.

Putting aside the preposterous directives, here's my serious question:

Leona famously snarled "only the little people pay taxes" when she was convicted of tax evasion two decades ago. Unfortunately for Leona, the federal government does impose an estate tax on U.S. citizens and residents.

You have to wonder: does an estate tax apply to a Maltese? And if so, who has to pony up for the pooch and file Trouble's taxes?

And then, yes, there’s the heir-of-the-dog problem: once Trouble’s gone to that great boneyard in the sky, who gets the leftovers?

Any estate attorneys out there had to arrange for assets left to a pet? (Subscriber-only link.)

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

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