Unfortunately, I cannot link to this story, but boy, would I love to! It is yet another indicator that the End of the World As We Know It is upon us.
In today's Staten Island Advance (suitable for lining birdcages, or for use as kindling), on the front page, above the fold, next to a peevishly-written piece on the beginning of the Republican National Convention, is the following headline:
"Caring For Pets After You're Dead - Cats in woman's will in first case of N.Y. law that allows creation of special trust"
I shit you not.
The story goes on to tell the tale of a woman who had written her will in such a way as to state that one-quarter of her estate was to be left in trust to care for her cats. The article goes on to quote her lawyer (who shall not be named, as he is someone who should be ashamed that he took money to help someone do this, and because I will not help him advertise this 'service') as saying that his client (I'm not including the deceedant's name to save her human relatives the embarassment) had "a number of cats", but he would not specify the exact number of felines she owned. Why this specific information is a) relevant, and b) unable to be given, is beyond me. But then again, reporters often ask stupid questions, and lawyers protect information, no matter how innocuous, better than they do their gonads..
Anyways, it appears that this legal first was ajudicated here on Staten Island (the forgotten borough of New York City -- possibly now for good reason) by Surrogate Court Judge Robert J. Gigante, who had this to say:
"Most people would not know you could do this. The law shows society's acceptance of people's love and concern for animals."
Personally, I think it shows society's acceptance of stupidity, and the legal system's ability to create the most ridiculous crap out of whole cloth. But that's just me. Now, I guess it's true that a person can put whatever they want in their will -- that's their right -- but I have a feeling that when this will was read to the deceased's surviving relatives, they must have puked. Which is probably how this case wound up in the Surrogate Court, I would guess.
Giving Judge Gigante the benefit of the doubt, I'm guessing that if he were a logical man (no reason to think he isn't -- that part about 'most people would not know...' tells me that he probably didn't) he would have chucked this will out, just on general principles. However, there was this little law out there that probably kept him from doing so, and the quote above is not a reflection of his true views, but apply-anywhere-legal-bullshit. Sans that law, he probably would have chucked the whole thing.
Which leads to an interesting question: When the hell did someone write a law concerning this, and by the way, don't our elected officials have anything better to do with their time?