Share

Philadelphia PA Estate Planning Blog

Monday, May 14, 2012

Provision in Will to Kill The Cat Found Invalid

A case of estate planning for pets is decided in a Chicago court.

A Chicago judge has reversed a death sentence that has been hanging over Boots the cat for months.  The feline's owner, Georgia Lee Dvorak, died last Christmas Eve at age 76.  Dvorak left no survivors, and her will, written in 1988, included a provision directing that any cat or cats she owned at the time of her death be euthanized "in a painless, peaceful manner." 

But trust officers at Fifth Third Bank, which was appointed to manage Dvorak's $1.4 million estate, were reluctant to follow through on the will's terms when it came to Boots, age 11. 

The bank asked a Cook County (Chicago) probate court to set aside that provision of Dvorak's will.  In its arguments to the judge, the bank noted that Dvorak had left the the bulk of her estate to twelve animal-related charitable organizations.  They also cited legal precedents in which courts had spared other animals in similar legal predicaments, including two Irish setters in Pennsylvania who had been ordered destroyed in their owner's will, and horses in Vermont and Canada that had been similarly condemned.

The judge allowed the bank to search for a suitable home for Boots to live out the remainder of her life, and one was found.  Cats-are-Purrsons-Too agreed to care for Boots provided it could receive a $2,000 endowment.  On April 3, 2012, the judge ruled that $1,000 of Dvorak's estate could go toward the endowment, and the bank agreed to forego fees of $1,000, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.   

In its fact sheet "Providing for Your Pet's Future Without You," the Humane Society of the United States warns that when a pet owner puts a request in a will that an animal be put to death, "that provision is often ruled invalid by the legal system when the animal is young or in good health and when other humane alternatives are available."


Archived Posts

2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2010
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2009


The Law Offices of Jeremy A. Wechsler assist clients with Estate Planning matters in Willow Grove, PA as well as Abington, Hatboro, Dresher, Horsham, Bryn Athyn, Huntingdon Valley, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, Glenside, Oreland, Warminister, Wyncote, Ambler, Elkins Park, Flourtown, Philadelphia, Warrington, Cheltenham, Gwynedd Valley, Jamison, Feasterville Trevose, Richboro, North Wales, Blue Bell, Lafayette Hill, King of Prussia, Collegeville, Oaks, Phoenixville, Oxford Valley, Langhorne, Penndel, Bristol, Fairless Hills, Bensalem, Plymouth Meeting, Furlong, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Montgomery County.

© The Law Offices of Jeremy A. Wechsler | Disclaimer | Law Firm Website Design by Zola Creative



© 2019 The Law Offices of Jeremy A. Wechsler | Disclaimer
2300 Computer Avenue, Suite J-54, Willow Grove, PA 19090
| Phone: 215-706-0200

Wills and Trusts | Probate / Estate Administration | Elder Law / Long Term Care | Powers of Attorney | Life Insurance / Long-Term Care Insurance | Special Needs Planning | Same Sex Couple Planning | Asset Protection | Estate Planning For Pets | Retirement Planning | Retirement Account Trusts | About Us | Resources

Attorney Website Design by
Amicus Creative