Animals that inherited a fortune

Animals in wills

We all love our fluffy friends. Dogs are ‘a man’s best friend’ and cats make a house a home. They are a part of our family, and as such, many people choose to leave money in their will in order to look after them in the future.

So just how rich are some of these pets?

The world’s wealthiest animals

Gunther IV

Gunther is reportedly the richest dog in the world. His father, Gunther III was left $65 million by his owner, Karlotta Liebenstein, the late German countess when she died in 1992. The people who had been left in charge to care for this rich canine decided to invest Gunther III’s money which eventually grew into $375 million. This was all eventually passed down to his son, Gunther IV on his passing.

How to leave money to pets in wills

Blackie

Blackie is the world’s richest cat. This furry feline inherited £7 million in 1988. Her owner was Ben Rea, an antiques dealer. He loved his cat so much, that he left all of his fortune to Blackie along with several cat related charities with the instruction that they were to look after Blackie – and none to his family!

Gigoo

Is one of only two birds to have made the list. Gigoo was a Scots Dumpy hen belonging to Miles Blackwell who owned Blackwells publishers. He and his wife had no children, and when they died within weeks of each other, left Gigoo a nest egg of $15 million.

Tommaso

Tommaso was left a hefty 10 million when his owner died in 2011. His owner was Maria Assunta, the widow of an Italian property tycoon. Maria adored her cat and wanted to ensure that he was taken care of and loved, and so bequeathed her entire estate to Tommaso through the nurse who was caring for Maria before she died.  

Flossie

Flossie, a golden labrador is owned by American actress, Drew Barrymore. Flossie saved Drew and her then husband Tom Green when a fire started in their home whilst they slept. Drew was so grateful to her best friend, that she has left her home in a trust for Flossie!

Csoki

Is an African parrot that was owned by the millionaire, Victoria Brown. On her death, Victoria left £50,000 to Csoki in order to care for him.

Pets in wills

Grumpy cat

Grumpy cat (real name, Tardar Sauce) is different from all of the other pets listed, as she is a self made rich pet.

Who’s in charge of your pet?

If you want to leave money in your will for your pet, you can’t leave money directly to them. This is because pets are obviously unable to provide a legal receipt. But, you can choose a friend or family member to be responsible for your pet. If you have someone in mind, you can put a clause in your will stating you will leave a lump sum of money to them and specify that the money should be used to care for your pet.

If you don’t have someone capable to look after your pet, it is a good idea to seek out a charitable organisation who would be able to give your pet a home.

How much money should you leave for your pet?

If you are leaving your pet to a friend to care for, then there are a number of costs you should consider. Their food, vets bills, medications, any walking fees, grooming and possible boarding costs.  A good way to work out how much to leave would be to calculate how much your pet costs annually, and multiply that by their predicted life expectancy. It’s also a good idea to include a little extra for any unforeseen costs.

How do you put your pet in your will?

Once you have decided who you are going to leave in charge of your pet and have worked out the amount you wish to leave for their care, you need to put it into your will. Adding a pet and a person to care for them to a will is relatively inexpensive. However, by making sure your pet’s future is written into your will, it will provide you with peace of mind and will ensure that your pet is cared for the duration of its life.

For more information on wills, please visit our pages on wills here.

Or speak to one of our specialist legal team on 0800 614 722.