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Extremely wealthy pets due to inheritance

View profile for Katey  Stephenson
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Following his passing on Tuesday last week, the BBC reported that the fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld, has passed a portion of his estate of around £150 million to his cat, Choupette. Though they have not specified how much Choupette stands to inherit, this inheritance could make her one of the wealthiest pets in the world.

Another example of a very wealthy animal is German Shepherd Gunther III, who was left around £60 million by his owner, Countess Karlotta Liebenstien of Austria. This fund was wisely invested and it is now worth around £220 million, which has since been passed to his son Gunther IV. We also have Oprah Winfrey’s five dogs, who are the beneficiaries of a $30 million fund. Not on the list is Michael Jackson’s former pet, chimpanzee Bubbles, who did not receive anything in his will but is said to receive around £10,000 from his estate annually.

In practice, those staggering funds are not passed to the pet itself, but rather are provided to an individual or held in trust for the benefit and maintenance of the pet. There is no doubt that our pets mean so much to us. Ensuring they are provided for suitably, both with financial support for their lifestyle and suitable carers, is an important consideration. The alternative, which is seen all too often, is a beloved pet without a home and an individual without the funds to care for it.

If you would like to discuss making provision for your pet or pets in your will, or to discuss your will more generally, please contact one of our wills, trusts and probate team. I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217618 or thomas.lee@birkettlong.co.uk.

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