Sam Simon was renowned as the co-creator of “The Simpsons.” When he died earlier this year, he left an estate worth at least $100 million, most of which he left to charity. He left the care of his rescue dog, a Cane Corso (think a pit bull on steroids, dating from Roman times) to the dog’s trainer. Alas, he did not leave any funds to the trainer for the care of the dog which requires twice a week acupuncture at $3,600 per month, gluten free regionally sourced food for $185 month, and $150 grooming every three weeks. The trainer also requested his $7,500 monthly fee to work with the dog to keep it from “changing your life in an instant (i.e. mauling)” even though the trainer now owned the dog. The trainer is upset that the trustee will not provide him the funds he has requested to care for the dog.
1. Trusts to provide for the care of pets after the death of an owner are permissible under Ohio law.
2. If Mr. Simon’s trust did not specifically provide for the care of the dog after his death, the Trustee is not permitted to distribute funds to the new owner of the dog.
3. When leaving someone one’s pet, one should also leave a sum of money to care for the animal. I always address this issue with my clients, lest they impose a financial burden on their friends.
4. Mr. Simon could have made a huge difference in many human lives with the $140K he was spending annually on a dog prone to attacking anyone who walked onto his property, although attacking Howard Stern is understandable.
5. Gluten free, regionally sourced food for dogs? L.A. deserves our scorn and mockery.