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Your state legislature at work: SB 685 makes it easier to leave your cash to your pets

Mom_always_liked_me_bestLeona Helmsley made headlines last year when she left $12 million to her dog, Trouble, and left two of  her grandkids with nothing. Today, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made it easier for Californians to follow in the "Queen of Mean's" footsteps by making it easier for Californians to include their pets in their wills. Our own Patrick McGreevey has the details:

Unlike most states, California law has treated  "pet trust funds" as honorary and therefore the trusts are often unenforceable, according to State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored a bill signed Tuesday by the governor. “Pets are an important part of the American family,” Yee said. “SB 685 will make pet trusts enforceable and assure that the wishes of pet owners are respected.”

Perhaps the most famous 'pet trust' was revealed after the August 2007 death of billionaire hotelier Helmsley, who left $12 million in a trust for the care of her Maltese, Trouble, while leaving nothing to two of her grandchildren. Taxpayer activist Lew Uhler said pet owners can already make arrangements to have their pets cared for when the owners die. He ridiculed lawmakers for focusing on pet trusts when the state is facing a potential $15 billion budget deficit and is threatening to cut funds for human children.

"If the legislature has nothing better to do than mess with this kind of legislation, we really do need to rethink whether we need a full-time legislature," said Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee.

I'm guessing Uhler's pets can count on being cut out of his will.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo credit: Liz Baylen / Los Angeles Times

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The new California Dog Trust Protection Law (SB 685) saga.

As a dog owners become ever more lonely, their animal is no longer considered a dog; instead, it metamorphoses -- like a caterpillar larva into a moth -- to a pampered "child that barks." And as the dog ages, its human owners spend their every last dime and max out every credit card they have to provide it with the most expensive medical care and legal Trusts that the Seventy-Five-Billion-Dollars-a-Year Pet Industry can devise.

California dogs are luckier than California's human children now that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the new Pet Trust Law which protects primarily dogs (cat owners are more levelheaded) after their owners pass away.

The new Dog Trust Law does have one bright Spot (play on words) as it generates millions and millions and millions of dollars for the pet-dogs' attorneys fees, court appointed specialists to make sure Rover is in his right mind before he signs the family Trust's papers, paw experts "signature-paw" readers to make sure Rover is who he says he is, dog experts to testify on how Rover's multiple caregivers are interviewed and hired to meet Rover's day-to-day challenging routine play schedule, a dog psychiatrist to comfort Rover, and more attorneys to be in charge of Rover's medical needs. Oh! Don't forget the car and driver Rover will need to get around in too.

Let's not forget: How sad it is that human children in California are less important than dogs!


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