Oprah’s dogs stand to inherit around $30 million in case of the talk show host’s death, while Leona Helmsley left her Maltese Trouble $12 million. Those numbers make Hagerstown canines Buckshot, Katie, and Obujet — a beagle and two lab mixes — seem positively middle class: they inherited a estate valued at a mere $800,000 when their owner died in 2007.
The three dogs, which were adopted as strays by Hagerstown resident Ken Kemper, continued to live in Kemper’s Hagerstown house after his death. The trust paid for a caretaker, as well as special Friday night smorgasbords of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. (Seriously.)
At the time that the Hagerstown trio inherited their estate, there was no statutory pet trust legislation on the books in Maryland. But thanks to the increasing popularity of pet estate planning, the state enacted a law in 2009 allowing for a trust fund dedicated to the care of an animal or animals. The Maryland law mandates that the trust terminates when the animal dies, so we don’t have to worry about trust fund kittens trotting around town, acting entitled.
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