Leona Helmsley's will: Losers - grandchildren, winner - Trouble

June 17, 2011 Trouble has died. Trouble, Leona Helmsley's Maltese dog, died at the age of 12. Trouble, one of the world's richest dogs, inherited $12 million dollars in 2007 thanks to Leona Helmsley's careful estate planning, beating out two of Helmsley's grandchildren for the inheritance money. Even though a probate judge ruled Trouble could only keep $2 million of the money, that would be plenty to give Trouble a life of luxury. Trouble was taken care of unlike most people. Trouble moved to the Sandcastle Hotel in Florida with a full time bodyguard, fine food, and lots of pampering and grooming. Trouble had no problem spending that $2 million either. Yearly security costs were $100,000.00 and a full time companion was $60,000.00. Now that Trouble has passed the remaining inheritance money will be left to the Helmsley Charitable Trust. It is unusual for someone to leave so much money to a dog and not their blood relatives, however, we all of the right to plan our estate and make legal arrangements prior to our death in order to ensure our assets go where we want them to.

Why estate planning is important.
It is unusual for someone to leave so much money to a dog and not their blood relatives, however, we all of the right to plan our estate and make legal arrangements prior to our death in order to ensure our assets go where we want them to. Do you have a will? If you died today would your family know what your family wishes and have the legal capacity to carry them out? "Risks associated with failing to plan for estate transfer include the transfer of property contrary to the client's wishes, insufficient financial provision for the client's family, and liquidity problems at the time of death." (Personal Financial Planning, Theory and Practice) According to Suze Orman, appropriate estate planning includes a will, revocable living trust, advanced directive and durable power of attorney for healthcare, and a financial power of attorney. Which of these do you have completed already and which do you need to plan on completing in the next 30 days?

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