Tag: leona helmsley
I try not to think about my own death too much, but I do have a general plan for the hereafter.
I want my cremated remains to spend eternity with my dog’s cremated remains — or at least those remains of him that remain after I, earlier this year, spread some of his ashes in his favorite ocean and some in his favorite creek.
I still have about half his ashes left (he was a big dog), and, if I revisit another place that was dear to us, I may spread a little more of him there.
But I’ll keep the rest so that they may join my own. As I see it, that should be my right as a dead man.
But it’s not always — at least when it comes to the rules of individual cemeteries, and the many local, state and federal laws, rules and regulations that govern how we dispose of our remains and those of our pets.
In most cases, state laws prohibits burying pets in human cemeteries, even just their ashes, but they are unenforceable laws — to be honest, needless laws — and they’re generally overlooked by funeral directors.
Most funeral directors go along with it when the family of the deceased requests their pet’s ashes be placed with the deceased — even when it’s technically against the rules.
Sometimes cemetery rules prohibit it; often state laws do. In recent years, though, some states have reexamined those laws.
Virginia passed a law in 2014 permitting cemeteries to have clearly marked sections where pets and humans may be buried alongside one another — as long as the animal has its own casket.
In New York, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation last month making it legal for the cremated remains of pets to be interred with their owners at any of the approximately 1,900 not-for-profit cemeteries regulated by the state.
“For many New Yorkers, their pets are members of the family,” Cuomo said. “This legislation will roll back this unnecessary regulation and give cemeteries the option to honor the last wishes of pet lovers across New York.”
The new law does not apply to cemeteries owned or operated by religious associations or societies, and any cemetery still has the right to say no.
But it’s a step closer to reasonable, and better than an interim measure passed three years ago, when New York made it permissible to bury the cremated remains of humans and their dogs together — but only in pet cemeteries.
State lawmakers approved the new bill during the final days of the legislature’s session June, according to The New York Daily News
“For years now, New Yorkers have desired to have their pets interred in their grave, and cemeteries will now be able to offer this burial option as a result of this new law,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County), who sponsored the law in the Senate.
One of those New Yorkers was Leona Helmsley, the hotel magnate who died in 2007 and specified in her will that she wanted her dog, Trouble, interred with her in the family mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester County.
Trouble died and was cremated in 2011, but could not be buried with her owner because of the state law prohibiting it.
Call me crazy (just don’t call me as crazy as her), but I want my ashes with Ace’s ashes, and not just in adjacent airtight containers.
I want them mixed, or at least — should I opt for my own to be spread — spread in the same location.
That could violate a law or two — because there are thousands of them governing how and where dogs and humans can be buried, cremation procedures, after-death mingling of species and where ashes can be spread.
According to Time.com scattering human ashes at sea must be done from a boat or plane three nautical miles from shore. That’s an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule.
The EPA says scattering a pet’s ashes in the sea is prohibited.
Woops, I already violated that rule.
Before it’s all over, or, more accurately, once it’s all over, I might violate some more. Blame my rebellious streak.
My advice is to check your city, county, state and federal laws, and then break them — at least as much as you, being dead, can.
Burying an entire dog or human body is one thing, and there should, for public health reasons, be some rules regulating that.
But ashes have no germs, no odor, no dangerous implications. What pet owners might have spread in rivers and streams over the centuries is non-toxic and only a drop in the bucket compared to, say, the coal ash Duke Energy unleashed in a day.
My plan to combine the ashes of myself and my dog still has some details in need of being worked out.
For one, I’ll need an accomplice to carry out my wishes and do the mixing, assuming the crematorium balks at my afterlife recipe — mix one part Ace with two parts John in a large Folgers Coffee can. Shake well.
After that it would be sent along to my designated spreader, to be named at a later date.
(I was joking about Folgers, any brand will do.)
When we leave the coffee can, we would like for it to be somewhere scenic and not too noisy.
Somewhere with a view of the sunset would be nice.
Someplace where I’m not in a neat row among other rows.
And somewhere free — in both meanings of the word.
Ace and I were thrifty in our travels, and our travels were all about feeling free and liberated as opposed to crated, coffined or cubicled.
I want our ashes to have that same freedom, together.
(Photos: Top and bottom, spreading Ace’s ashes in an unspecified ocean on the east coast, by Seth Effron and Glenn Edens; middle, more of Ace’s ashes being spread along a creek in Bethania, N.C., by Joe Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 19th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ashes, burials, cemeteries, cremains, death, dog, dogs, eternity, funeral directors, funerals, laws, leona helmsley, new york, oceans, pets, regulations, remains, rules, spread, spreading, spreading ashes, together, virginia
If Leona Helmsley was betrayed as much in life as she is being betrayed in death, it’s easy to understand why she might have become the bitch — and we’re not talking female dog — she was so often portrayed as.
In the latest development with the wealth she left behind, a second judge has ruled, in effect, that the foundation divvying up her fortune among charitable groups need not follow her express wish that much of that money be spent on the care of dogs.
The judge denied a bid by the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and other animal groups to get a larger share of Helmsley’s billions.
Although Helmsley directed a share of her massive fortune go to “the care of dogs” — that being in addition to the $12 million she asked be left to her own dog — the Helmsley Foundation’s trustees have seen fit to dispense most of the foundation money among organizations that have little or nothing to do with canines.
According to the animal welfare groups, only about $100,000 of the $450 million the foundation has given away has gone to dog causes.
The dog charities argued they should have standing to challenge how the foundation gives away its money in light of Helmsley’s written statements and last wishes. Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, called the $100,000 received so far “a trifling amount, and contrary to Helmsley’s intentions.”
Surrogate’s Court Judge Nora Anderson in Manhattan rejected the bid by the animal welfare organizations to intervene in the case, agreeing with a judge who ruled earlier that the trustees have sole discretion in how to distribute the money, the New York Post reported yesterday.
She said she feared the groups’ challenge could open the floodgates to countless lawsuits from dog organizations around the world.
It’s hardly the first time Helmsley’s last wishes have been overruled since her death: Of that $12 million she left in her will for the care of her Maltese, named Trouble, a judge reduced the amount to $2 million.
Beyond what she intended to leave for the care and feeding of Trouble, Helmsley had another $5 to $8 billion, according to estimates of the trust’s worth.
Helmsley, who died in 2007, wrote in a 2004 mission statement for the trust that she wanted that money used for “1) purposes related to the provision or care of dogs and 2) such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”
In 2009, though, the Surrogate’s Court found that the mission statement did not place any legal restrictions on what donations could be made from the trust.
Later that year, the ASPCA, the Humane Society and Maddie’s Fund, filed a motion asking the court to vacate its earlier order and allow them to intervene. The primary interest of those groups was not, of course, in seeing solely that Helmsley’s wishes were honored, but neither, it seems, are the foundation’s. The animal welfare groups’ goals seem more aligned with her wishes, though.
By all descriptions, the so-called “queen of mean” was a hard-hearted woman, with one soft spot — dogs.
The foundation doling out her fortune doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for dogs, or for Helmsley.
I’m no legal expert, just a dog lover, and I’m not asking for Trouble. But if I arranged to leave my fortune — non-existent though it may currently be — to my dog Ace, or anywhere else, and you didn’t carry out my wishes, you can be sure I’d be back to haunt you.
I’d show you mean.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, aspca, bequeath, bequest, billions, bitch, charities, death, dogs, editorial, fortune, groups, helmsley foundation, hsus, humane society of the united states, inheritance, intervene, judge, leona helmsley, mean, organizations, pets, queen of mean, ruling, trouble, wayne pacelle, will
Gail Posner, the daughter of corporate-takeover king Victor Posner, has bequeathed her $8.3 million Miami mansion and a $3 million trust fund to her dogs, the New York Post reports.
Also named in the will were seven personal aides, including bodyguards and housekeepers, who were given a total of $26 million — and the right to live rent-free in the mansion while caring for the animals, according to court papers.
The 67-year-old heiress died in March.
Posner had three pets, including a Chihuahua named Conchita that she once called “one of the world’s most spoiled dogs.”
Gail Posner’s only living son, Hollywood screenwriter Bret Carr, has filed a lawsuit claiming his mom was drugged and “brainwashed” by her aides into leaving so much to her dogs.
In a 2007 interview, Posner admitted to buying a $15,000 diamond-studded Cartier necklace for Conchita. and once considered buying him his own Range Rover.
Posner changed her will in 2008, after she was already dying from cancer, and added the vast sums for her pups and workers.
The case is reminiscent of that of hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, who left $12 million to her Maltese, named Trouble, while snubbing two of her grandkids. A judge later knocked the amount the dog would receive down to a mere $2 million.
(Photo: Miami Herald)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $3 million, animals, bequeath, bret carr, cancer, chihuahua, conchita, daughter, dogs, estate, gail posner, heiress, lawsuit, leona helmsley, mansion, miami, news, ohmidog!, pets, son, trouble, victor posner, will
Three animal welfare groups are accusing the trustees of Leona Helmsley’s multibillion-dollar estate of ignoring her wishes that the bulk of her fortune should go to dogs.
In a court petition filed yesterday, the animal advocates said the trustees have shown “disdain” for Helmsley’s wishes by donating only $100,000 of $137 million doled out so far to dog welfare.
The petition was filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Maddie’s Fund, according to an Associated Press report.
The groups want the court to throw out a judge’s February decision that gave the trustees for the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust sole authority to determine which charities would benefit from her estate.
Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of the Humane Society, said dog welfare was “the only charitable interest specifically designated in the trust instrument. … But what we’ve seen is an utter disdain for the cause of animal welfare and a complete writing off of the animal welfare concern.”
In April, the trustees gave away $136 million to hospitals, foundations and the homeless. Just $100,000 went to an animal-welfare group, the ASPCA. Another $900,000 went to groups that train guide dogs for the blind.
The trust, in a statement posted on its Web site, said Helmsley, who died in 2007, never wanted her fortune just to go to dogs: “Did Leona Helmsley intend for this charitable trust to focus on the care and help of dogs, rather than people? Absolutely not,” the statement said.
Helmsley, whose fortune was estimated at $5 billion to $8 billion after her death at age 87, also named her dog, Trouble, as a beneficiary, leaving a $12 million trust fund for the white Maltese. A judge later reduced Trouble’s take to $2 million.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal charities, aspca, charitable, court, estate, fortune, helmsley, hsus, humane society of the united states, lawsuit, leona, leona helmsley, maddie's fund, maltese, millions, petition, trouble, trust, trustees
Snoopy beat out Lassie, but just barely, in a recent poll conducted on behalf of the new AOL pet website, PawNation.com.
Both Lassie and Snoopy captured 39 percent of the votes for “favorite celebrity animal,” but Snoopy edged the beloved, but fading from memory collie by 14 votes. Garfield and Scooby Doo trailed with 12 and 11 percent, respectively.
The survey covered other important issues as well.
Asked “which celebrity pet’s passing did you mourn the most?” Oprah’s deceased dog Sophie came in at the top, followed by Mickey Rourke’s chihuahua, Loki.
In other results from the poll, the honors for “craziest pet owner” went to Leona Helmsley, with Paris Hilton a distant second. And the celebrity picked as the one people would most trust to watch their pet was Jennifer Aniston, who captured a whopping 70 percent of the vote, beating out Mickey Rourke, Pam Anderson and Nicole Richie.
Almost half of the respondents said their pets sleep in their beds every night, and more than fourth said they did some sometimes.
(Graphic: from redkid’s “Snoopy Says Generator”)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aol, bed, bo, bridget marquardt, celebrities, coks, dogs, ellen degeneres, garfield, jennifer aniston, lassie, leona helmsley, mickey rourke, millie, names, nicole richie, pam anderson, paris hilton, pawnation, perez hilton, pets, poll, scooby doo, sleeps, snoopy, website
Trustees of real estate baroness Leona Helmsley’s estate say they’re giving $136 million to charity — and only $1 million of that is going to the dogs.
Animal rights groups rejoiced last year at reports that Helmsley, who died in 2007 at age 87, wanted her entire multibillion-dollar fortune to go to dog-related charities
But a court ruled in February that the trustees had authority to decide which charities could receive funds. Apparently dogs — and Helmsley’s wishes — rated pretty low in the decision-making process. The judge’s decision did not affect the $12 million Helmsley bequeathed to her Maltese, Trouble.
Helmsley’s estate yesterday announced its first round of charitable grants. The largest, $40 million, went to New York’s Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Most of the money went to health care systems across the country, Newsday reported today.
Helmsley’s estate distributed $1 million to 10 animal rights groups, including $100,000 to the ASPCA.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, aspca, benficiaries, charities, dogs, estate, fortune, leona helmsley, millions, trustees, will
Maybe you’re no Leona Helmsley, and have no plans to leave your dog $12 million to assure he continue living in the luxurious manner to which he has become accustomed.
Maybe you’re no Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress who, in addition to bequeathing large amounts to animal organizations in her will, left $100,000 in a trust for the care and feeding of her dog.
Maybe you’re not even a Dusty Springfield, the 60’s era British singer who specified in her will that, after her death, the friend caring for her cat, Nicholas, ensure that he sleep in a bed lined with her nightgown, that he be fed his favorite imported baby food, and that her recordings — You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, for example — be played each night at his bedtime.
That doesn’t mean that you might not want to look into making some sane and basic arrangements — even if it’s just an informal agreement with a good friend — in the event your pet outlives you.
About 500,000 animals are killed in shelters and veterinary offices each year after their owners die, according to a Consumer Reports article on pet trusts, originally published in 2007.
If you live in Maryland, though, establishing a pet trust hasn’t been an option. We’re one of 11 states with no legally binding way to ensure that a portion of an estate will be spent on an animals’ care. A bill to change that was approved by the House of Delegates yesterday and will now be considered by the Senate.
If it passes, Maryland would become one of 40 states, including Virginia, that allow residents to establish legal trusts for their pets.
Under the proposed law in Maryland, no more could be set aside than was needed to care for an animal and courts could overrule pet lovers who tried to leave millions to their pets and order that the money be given to other heirs.
Under current Maryland law, residents can name a caretaker for their pets in their wills and ask that a sum of money be set aside for the pets’ care. But if the designated caretaker proves unable or unwilling to care for their pets, there is no guarantee that the deceased’s wishes will be followed. Under the legislation, a court would enforce the terms of the trust, requiring that the money set aside go only to care for designated animals, according to a Washington Post article.
“The states and courts should recognize that there’s an important human-animal bond,” said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, which has pushed for such legislation nationwide. “People want the peace of mind of knowing that their pets will be cared for.”
The bill is being sponsored by two professed animal lovers: Del. A. Wade Kach (R-Baltimore County), who has two cats, and Del. John A. Olszewski Jr. (D-Baltimore County), who owns a 2-year-old border collie-chow mix.
“You work hard for what you earn,” Olszewski said. “You should be able to decide how its spent after your death.”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: best friends, bill, care, cats, death, dog, doris duke, dusty springfield, estate, law, legislation, leona helmsley, maryland, outlives, pet, pet guardian, pet trusts, pets, trusts, wills