Wacky Wednesday: Wills That Make You Go “Hmmm…” – Leona Helmsley

by Rania Combs

NB: This post is part of a series highlighting wills that contain some interesting, and sometimes bizarre, bequests and stipulations. You can see all these posts here.

Leona Helmsley is often referred to as the “Queen of Mean”, but her dog might disagree.

During her life, she dressed her Maltese Terrier, Trouble, in pricey outfits, including a diamond collar, and fed him meals prepared by a chef that included steamed vegetables and steamed or grilled chicken or fish that were served in porcelain bowls on a silver tray.

When she died in 2007, the hotel magnate left $12 million in trust for the care of Trouble, and directed that he be buried next to her in the Helmsley mausoleum after he died.

She left the bulk of her $4 billion estate to a charitable trust. By comparison, she left $10 million to her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, and $5 million to each of his two children. She completely disinherited two other grandchildren “for reasons that are known to them.”

After a will contest, the disinherited grandchildren were awarded $6 million, and Trouble’s bequest was reduced to $2 million. That is still one pampered pooch!

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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