COYLE & WYTYCHAK
ELDER LAW NEWS
April 2019, Volume 2, Issue 16
WHAT IS GOING ON?
PARKING UPDATE- There are now tenants in the long- abandoned property to the East of us on Garden, and
they have asked us to request that our clients not park in that parking lot. We have plenty of street parking and
you can always use our handicap accessible driveway as long as it is not already occupied.
NEW CREDIT CARD PROCEDURE- We now accept credit cards through our website, www.CWELP.com!
Click on the “Payments” tab on the home page to be directed to the LawPay website.
On Tuesday, April 9, 2019 the Alzheimer’s Association will host 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s from 2 to 4
pm at the Rathdrum Senior Center. RSVP to (800) 272-3900.
One More Time’s Bunny Stop and Hop Scavenger Hunt will be April 13 th , 2019 from 12 to 5 pm at Garden Plaza
of Post Falls. There will be 10 stops, tasks, and prizes! Cost is $20/ team. For more information, call (208) 512-
Living with Alzheimer’s, Early Stage Planning is an upcoming 3 part series from 2 to 4 pm on April 30, May 7,
and May 14, 2019 at the Hayden Library. Contact the Alzheimer’s Association at (800) 272-3900 for more
Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a 6 week long class for family caregivers presented by the Alzheimer’s Association
will begin on May 2, 2019 and run through June 6, 2019. For more information or to register, call (208) 666-
Check out Coyle and Wytychak Elder Law on Facebook! “Like” us to stay informed and hear about events in the
senior community. Search for Coyle & Wytychak Elder Law. Share our page with your friends and family so
they can also take advantage of the informative articles and information!
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
- Dalai Lama
PETS AND ESTATE PLANNING- BY REBECCA EYMAN
Many consider their pets to be full-fledged members of the family. For this reason, it’s not unusual for
people to want to include their pets in some way in estate planning documents. However, this
honorable instinct can lead to absurd results, because animals are legally considered to be “chattel,”
or personal property, and cannot inherit property.
One of the most famous examples of a pet included in an estate plan is that of Leona Helmsley. The
New York hotel heiress nicknamed “the Queen of Mean” left the bulk of her vast estate to her Maltese
dog, Trouble. Although Trouble was initially set to inherit $12 million, a judge reduced the dog’s
inheritance to $2 million, finding that the greater amount exceeded that necessary to care for the pup.
The funds were distributed to Trouble’s caretaker to pay for her full-time security, grooming, and food.
Trouble died in 2007 at the age of 12. Helmsley had asked in her will that Trouble be buried
alongside her in her family mausoleum. This created a new legal headache, as there are regulations
forbidding the interring of nonhuman remains in human cemeteries.
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died earlier this year, also apparently included his beloved pet
in his estate plan. Lagerfeld’s Birman cat, Choupette, lived in the lap of luxury catered to by two
personal maids, ate meals of caviar and chicken pâté at the table off of designer dishes, and travelled
on private jets. Before he died, Lagerfeld suggested that he intended to leave Choupette a portion of
his fortune. However, Lagerfeld resided in France at the time of his death, and French law—like U.S.
law—does not allow money to be passed down to pets.
Although you may not have millions of dollars to leave to your loyal companion, there are important
ways to remember your pets in your estate plan. For example, have you considered who will take
care of your pets after you pass away? Just like parents can name a guardian for minor children in an
estate plan, you can do the same for your pets. You can also include special instructions about the re-
homing, medical, dietary, and other needs of your pets.
Also, while animals cannot legally inherit money, you can leave a specific gift of money to the person
who will be caring for your pets to be used for your pet’s health and benefit. Or, you can set aside
funds in a pet trust for this purpose. If you would like to use your estate planning documents to help
animals more generally, you can include a gift to an animal-related charity, including the Kootenai
County Humane Society or the SPCA.
Whatever your estate planning goals are, the attorneys of Coyle & Wytychak Elder Law are here to