Lulu, an 8-year-old border collie from Nashville, has recently made headlines when it was revealed she was the recipient of a $5 million trust fund. Her owner died last year and wanted to make sure that she would be well looked after for the rest of her life. The money has been placed in trust where it will be used to meet all of her needs. She is being cared for by a family friend, Martha Burton who also used to look after her before her owner, Bill Dorris, passed away. Dorris was a businessman who never married or had children. When he was away on business, Burton always used to look after Lulu, sometimes for months at a time. She was obviously someone that he trusted to take care of his dog when he was not around. No details have been given about the length of the friendship between Dorris and Burton, but she is clearly someone that Lulu feels comfortable with.
His will specified that Burton should continue to look after Lulu after his death, and that $5 million would be left in a trust fund to provide the dog with everything that she needs. According to CNN, it is not clear who will benefit from the rest of his estate, as it is still going through probate. It seems like the most important thing in Dorris’ mind when he was writing his will was that Lulu would be well taken care of. He obviously had a really close relationship with Lulu while he was alive. Dorris is not the first person to leave money to his pet in a will, but the amounts that are left are not normally that high. This is one of the reasons why this story has received so much interest. Dorris could have left a much lower figure in his will for Lulu and there would have still been plenty of money available to allow Burton to take good care of her.
The expenses that Burton incurs from looking after Lulu will be reimbursed using money from the fund. She admits that she is not sure how she would even begin to attempt to spend all the money that has been set aside for Lulu. The amount that she currently spends on treats and toys for the dog, as well as her food and any medical expenses, barely makes any kind of impact on the huge amount of money that has been set aside. Lulu could have a number of other treats coming her way, but whether it will be $5 million worth remains to be seen. She would have to be a seriously spoiled pooch to get through that amount of money.
All expenses that Burton claims for Lulu must be ‘reasonable’ and they all need to be reviewed before any money is paid to her. This should mean that she is not left out of pocket while caring for the dog and things such as food and other expenses will be covered. It also means that Lulu should be able to enjoy some extra treats. She has built up a good relationship with Lulu in the years that she has been looking after her, and Lulu is happy in her new home, although she must still miss Dorris. The fact that Burton has always taken such good care of Lulu was probably the reason why Dorris chose her as caretaker for the dog after he was gone.
When she was interviewed by Inside Edition, Burton told them that Lulu is not a high-maintenance dog. She also described her as a good girl. Border Collies are known to have an easy going temperament and Lulu does not seem to be an exception to this. They are also loyal dogs and the fact that Lulu had already bonded with Burton will make the transition to living with her full-time easier. She would already be familiar with the house from when she has stayed there before.
Burton herself has said that she does not really understand the reasoning of Dorris in leaving behind so much money for Lulu. She knew how much he loved the dog and that he would have done anything to make sure she was well taken care of after his death. It may not be an exaggeration so say that she was his best friend. It is likely that Burton would have taken Lulu in anyway because of the bond that the two had already developed. She had already taken care of her for so long while Dorris was traveling for business. The fact that he had no immediate family may also mean that there was no one else who he wanted to leave the money to.
With it being unlikely that Lulu will have all the money spent on her during her lifetime, there may be some money left over when the dog also passes away. People suggests that it is most likely that this money will be given to charity, as this is what has happened before in similar cases. If no specific provision was made in the will, then it may be Burton herself who gets to decide which charity the money would go to. She is hoping that this is something they don’t have to worry about for a while, and that Lulu has plenty of years left in her yet.
Leaving this money to Lulu is not the only thing that Dorris has done in his life which has caused controversy. The property where he lived backs on to the I-65 and in his garden was a statue of the confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest who was also an early member of the Ku Klux Klan. The statue was clearly visible from the highway and was vandalized on a number of occasions. It is unclear what will happen to the statue when his estate is dealt with. There have been petitions for it to be covered so it can not be seen from the highway before, but these have never come to anything.