BOOKS: PerPETual Care & All My Children Wear Fur Coats
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2005:
Who will look after your pets if you’re not around?
by Lisa Rogak
Litterature (212 Kinsman Rd., Grafton, NH 03240), 2003.
192 pages, paperback. $15.00.
All My Children Wear Fur Coats:
How to leave a legacy for your pet
by Peggy R. Hoyt, J.D., MBA
Legacy Planning Partners, LLC (251 Plaza Dr., Suite B, Oviedo, FL
32765), 2002. 182 pages, paperback, $19.95.
The importance of careful estate planning, especially when
the goal is to benefit animals, was underscored on December 2, 2005
when Circuit Judge Steven H. Goldman of St. Louis County, Missouri
permanently removed attorney Eric Taylor as a trustee of the Olive
Dempsey Charitable Trust.
Judge Goldman ordered Taylor to repay to the trust $266,213
in fees and expenses collected while serving as co-trustee with
accountant James Richardson.
Dempsey, a retired telephone company employee, hired Taylor
and Richardson to form the trust in 1998. At her death in December
2000 the trust had assets of about $2 million. During the next three
years, according to IRS Form 990, Taylor collected at least
$221,929 in administrative fees. Richardson, who resigned
co-trusteeship earlier, collected $159,103.
Among the few claimed program activities while Taylor and
Richardson ran the Dempsey Trust were two grants of $10,000 made in
2001 to the Center for Expansion of Fundamental Rights, headed by
disbarred former Massachusetts animal rights attorney Stephen Wise.
Incorporated in 1996, the Center has never filed IRS Form 990,
presumably because it never had annual income of more than $25,000.
Taylor and Richardson also formed a subsidiary called the RT
Trust, called The Animal Trust on Form 990. The subsidiary never
obtained Missouri nonprofit status. St. Louis activist Colleen
Tillman was briefly employed as executive director, followed by
former St. Louis Animal Rights Team president Janet Enoch, who was
paid $17,102 for approximately one year of service.
“I was to set up a campaign to address puppy mills,” Enoch
told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “Shirley Sostman and I coordinated protests at
local Petland stores and closed them.”
Another St. Louis activist, Brenda Shoss, was paid $500 for
computer work. $100 was donated to one local animal shelter.
So little program spending was authorized that Enoch
eventually brought in an outside attorney to investigate, who took
the management of the Olive Dempsey Charitable Trust to the Missouri
state attorney’s office.
Taylor, 62, did not appear at trial. Formerly practicing
tax and estate law in Creve Coeur, Missouri, he is believed to be
living now in Thailand.
“Taylor tried unsuccessfully last year to remove $500,000
from the trust through electronic messages sent from Thailand and
Laos to a stock brokerage,” reported William C. Lhotka of the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch. This followed “a previous failed attempt to
obtain $600,000 from the trust to invest in public housing in Wright
City,” Lhotka wrote.
The Olive Dempsey Charitable Trust is now under the
administration of the U.S. Bank, with assets reduced to about $1
million. Whether it will ever help animals and children as Olive
Dempsey intended is yet to be seen.
Similar cases come to the attention of ANIMAL PEOPLE at the rate of
about one per year.
PerPETual Care and All My Child-ren Wear Fur Coats might have
helped Olive Dempsey. Both books begin by discussing provisions for
posthumous care of one’s personal animals, as the topic of most
urgent concern to the majority of potential customers, but both move
from there into the larger question of how best to benefit animals
and animal charities with an intended bequest. Both begin with
disclaimers, describe all the standard legal mechanisms that might
be used, and include almost identical advice.
One cannot say there is not a dime’s difference between them.
PerPETual Care is four bucks cheaper, author Lisa Rogak pledges to
donate $5.00 per copy sold through the <www.PerPETualCareBook.com>
web site “to the shelter or rescue of the buyer’s choice,” if you
can get the site to load (I couldn’t), and Rogak, who writes for a
living, displays considerably more humor than Peggy Hoyt, author of
All My Children Wear Fur Coats.
Hoyt is a lawyer. Her father, John Hoyt, headed the Humane
Society of the U.S. from 1970 to 1996. She predictably plugs HSUS
early and relatively often.
While Peggy Hoyt’s writing is not colorful, her discussions
of legal issues are both thorough and easily read by non-lawyers. The
first 161 pages of All My Children Wear Fur Coats are legal advice,
whereas Rogak runs out of advice at 87 pages and fills the last half
of her book with lists and appendices.
On the other hand, Rogak’s inclusion of specific language
from state statutes governing pet trusts and a sample pet trust may
prove useful. In addition, Rogak’s book is thoroughly indexed.
Hoyt’s has no index.
Both All My Children Wear Fur Coats and PerPETual Care have
utility. However, most of the basics are accessible for free in
Estate Planning For ANIMAL PEOPLE: Making Bequests to Animal
Charities, and Setting up Trusts to Benefit Animals. This may be
downloaded from <www.animalpeoplenews.org/ MakingBequestsS.cfm>.
Whether you use the ANIMAL PEOPLE handout, Hoyt, or Rogak
as your primer, your next step should be hiring the estate planning
help you need. Like death and taxes, that step seems inevitable.