Billionaire’s fortune isn’t just going to the dogs

An American billionaire who left her entire fortune to dog charities has had her will contested in court. Leona Helmsley left her fortune to various dog charities, and she also $12 million to her own dog, Trouble, more than to most of her family and excluding some members of her family.

A US court has ruled however that not all of her fortune should go to charities exclusively for dogs. Her legal documentation apparently awards her trustees with the discretion to make changes in which charities the money is donated to, so now the $8 billion that Hemlsley has left to charities will be split up among different animal charities.

Judge Troy Webber stated that the documents gave full control to the trustees. The documents allow the trustees to:

Apply trust funds for such charitable purposes and in such amounts as they may, in their sole discretion, determine.

A trustee spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, said:

In the hope that this would be the court’s decision, the trustees have been diligently working to identify potential grantees so the trust’s funds would be put to optimal use as soon as possible in such areas as health care, medical research, human services, education and various other areas.

A judge has also overruled the decision to award $12 million to Helmsley’s dog Trouble, so that now the dog will receive just $2 million, and her grandchildren will receive $6 million each.


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