Legal battle continues for estate of Alabama woman who left $2 million to take care of 19 dogs and cats

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In Jefferson County, Alabama, a dispute continues over what remains of a $2 million estate which included provisions for the care and support of 19 dogs and cats.

According to, the Alabama Supreme Court, the case should not be moved to the Circuit Court as requested by the Humane Society of the United States.

In 2014, Nella Ruth Braswell died and left behind six cats, 13 dogs and an estate worth more than $2 million. The businesses included 200 acres in the county, a bar and grill, a ten-unit apartment house, a flea market, a winery and a gun shop. Braswell also left a substantial part of her real estate to the Humane Society of the United States designating the organization as the residuary beneficiary.

Braswell also left instructions in her will for the continued care of her pets until the last one died, with the remainder of the money to pass to the Humane Society of the United States. When the organization no longer had any confidence with the estate’s representative, Marion McLeroy, whose job it was to oversee the care of the animals, they objected.

At the suggestion of the Humane Society, the pets were sent to an animal hospital because many of the animals needed veterinary care, and the home had been in disrepair.

Last year, the Humane Society petitioned the probate court to remove the representative for the estate and the animal management asserting that parts of the estate were in disrepair. Most of the pets had died, and the Humane Society asked McLeroy to transfer the assets to the organization.

Court documents show only one of Braswell’s pets is still alive and is being cared for by McLeroy and her husband.

Advice? Make sure your Last Will and Testament covers the care of your pets if needed. Make sure to use a responsible representative.

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