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In re Estate of Howard H. Brand

H.C. 5100/94 et al., No. 28473 (1999)

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In re Estate of Howard H. Brand

Vermont Probate Court, Chittenden County

H.C. 5100/94 et al., No. 28473 (1999)

Facts

Howard H. Brand left a will that provided Brand’s animals, including any horses and cattle, were to be destroyed upon his death. Because the State of Vermont had never determined whether a decedent could provide for the destruction of his healthy animal within his will, the court held a hearing on the matter. During the hearing, two attorneys that Brand had consulted concerning his will testified that Brand was of sound mind when he drafted the will. One of the attorneys further testified that he believed Brand had wanted his animals to be destroyed upon his death to ensure that they were not treated inhumanely. The court also received amicus briefs from multiple animal-rights activists and organizations advocating against allowing a testator to provide for the destruction of his healthy animals. The court then considered whether Brand’s request to destroy his animals should be permitted and, if not, how to carry out Brand’s intent without violating public policy.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fowler, J.)

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