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Dizzying Intellect » Give or Take a Zero or Three

Give or Take a Zero or Three

This makes me sick. When Leona Helmsley died, she left her entire estate, worth roughly five billion dollars (that’s billion with a ‘b’), to dog-related charities, in her will.

While this makes me happy, being a dog-lover and avid animal shelter supporter, I don’t think it’s entirely normal. But she was “of sound mind and body,” she earned that money herself, and that’s what she wanted done with it.

Right.

Trustees of real estate baroness Leona Helmsley’s estate say they’re giving $136 million to charity - with just $1 million going to the dogs.

Helmsley’s estate announced its first round of charitable grants on Tuesday. The largest, $40 million, goes to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The majority goes to New York City hospitals and other health care systems across the country.

Helmsley’s estate distributed $1 million to 10 animal rights groups, including $100,000 to the ASPCA.

So, instead of all of it, her skeezy trustees are allowing her selected charities to have only 1/5000th of what she left them. That’s just disgusting.

The moral, I guess, is to tighten up your will to show exactly who gets what, dollar by dollar. And make sure your trustees aren’t sewer-dwelling scumbags. But who in the real world can afford to create a more airtight will than freaking Leona Helmsley?

5 Comments

  • By Albert, April 22, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

    Nope. The moral is to give away your money yourself. Why wait till after you’re dead? Any financial analyst will tell you that your goal should be to die broke. The check to the cemetery should close out your account. If you have heirs you should distribute your assets to them while you’re alive. This makes sense for tax reasons but also so you can make sure that your stuff gets distributed the way you want. There’s no advantage to having the transfers happen after you’re dead.

  • By Tanya, April 22, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

    Hard to know when you’ll die, though. Generally speaking. Give too much away too fast, and end up living in your car in old age.

    As for giving it to your heirs while you’re still alive, I’m reading Fool (King Lear), so I’m a little biased against that right now.

  • By Albert, April 22, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

    Right. You can’t plan it perfectly, but a little foresight should make your net worth less than $1 billion when you kick the bucket. Re disbursements to your heirs: you can frequently arrange that in return for the earlier inheritence (and less taxes) they pay for your nursing home, creamed corn and very attractive nurse indefinitely.

  • By Albert, May 5, 2009 @ 12:31 am

    Pssst! Tanya:

    Don’t mean to be a pest. Long time no post.

    You OK?

  • By Dawn Summers, May 29, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

    Are you ever coming back? :(

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