Boots was a rescue cat that belonged to Georgia Lee Dvorak of Berwyn, Illinois. When Georgia died, she specified in her will that Boots should be euthanized. Fifth Third Bank, the personal representative of her estate, could not follow through and have Boots killed. Rather, it petitioned the probate court to have that portion of Georgia’s will set aside. The court agreed with the bank and spared Boots’ life.
Boots’ death sentence was a strange provision to have in a will. It was particularly unusual given the fact that Georgia loved animals and left the bulk of her $1.3 million estate to animal charities. In fact, she had rescued Boots from an abusive owner and was apparently afraid that Boots would find herself in a similar situation after Georgia’s death. Rather than seek common alternatives to provide for Boots’ welfare upon her death, Georgia included this arcane provision to ensure Boots and Georgia would both die near the same time.
While Georgia may have felt that euthanization was the only option she had to protect her cat from an uncertain future, there are certainly better ways. In fact, Georgia’s estate plan could have included provisions to care for Boots by establishing a pet guardian or creating a pet trust. She could have provided well for Boots’ care with a relatively small portion of her estate. Instead, she choose to have her beloved cat euthanized. Thankfully, the bank was able to find a shelter to take Boots in and find an adoptive family for the cat.
Many people do not realize all the options that estate planning gives them and that they can even provide for and protect their four-legged family members as well as their two-legged ones. Instead of creating a plan that guesses at the best option, make sure to meet with a qualified MH estate planning attorney to ensure your documents achieve all that you want for your estate and your loved ones. In fact, we will even meet with you for free! Schedule your appointment today at 888.222.1328.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, powers of attorney, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.