Estate Planning for the LGBTQ+ CommunityJuly 15, 2023
Learn 5 Ways to Save from Chad “Ochocinco” JohnsonJuly 25, 2023
When Nancy Sauer of Tampa, Florida passed away at the age of 84, she wanted to make sure her cats would still be taken care of properly. She left her inheritance to them, and her Will stipulated that all seven of the cats had to be kept together in the home they were used to. The home could be sold when the last cat had died. The cats, which are all Persians and were five years old at the time of Sauer’s death, were left with plenty of money for their care and feeding.
However, six months after Sauer died, a probate judge ruled that leaving the cats in the home by themselves wasn’t good for them, and that they should be moved somewhere where they could be properly cared for. Now the cats are up for adoption. While the goal is to keep them all together, that’s unlikely to happen. Not many people have the space and funds for seven Persian cats, and the breed can sometimes be expensive to maintain.
With that in mind, there are questions surrounding this decision that haven’t been answered. While it’s not legal to leave everything to a pet, because pets aren’t people and are generally considered property in a legal sense, there are pet trusts that can be created for the care of a pet after its owner passes away. There’s little information as to whether Sauer set her Will up this way, or whether something went wrong in the execution of her Will, based on the judge’s decision to move the cats and sell the home.
Additional details haven’t been released, but the cats have been removed and are with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. The executive director, Sherry Silk, says that the goal is to find the cats the best home for them, and to ensure that as many of them as possible stay together. Presumably, the house will also be up for sale soon, and whether Sauer has heirs or where the proceeds from that sale will go also remains to be seen.
If you have not finalized your estate plan yet, or if you have but it’s time to review and update your estate planning documents, we can help. Contact us today!