Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A quandary with 9 lives

Daily News personal finance columnist Harry Gross
Daily News personal finance columnist Harry Gross

DEAR HARRY: About 10 years ago, a friend bought a beautiful cat who became the major focus of his later years. He was severely disabled, and the cat gave him great comfort. The cat did not like too many people, but she and I got along famously. When my friend died, he left me the cat with a fund of $50,000 to care for her. If any money was left over, it was to go to my friend's brother. I cared for the cat for about two years, and it is now blind and incontinent. I can no longer care for it. The vet says she is also in almost constant pain from a kidney ailment. He wants me to put her to sleep. There's no will provision regarding this, and I don't want to get into trouble. My friend's brother could use the money, and he agrees with the vet. What do I do?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Leaving money to care for a pet often causes problems for the custodian of the pet. You may need a court order to prevent the cat from having a natural death even though she is pretty far gone already. I suggest that you get a second opinion from another vet before you do anything. Based on what you have said, I'm sure he'll agree with the opinion you already have. A lawyer whose specialty is estates is your next step. I feel certain that a judge will go along with what the vets have agreed. This may seem like a lot of formality, but I want to be on the safe side to protect you.


Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

Harry Gross Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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