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Pet Inheritance

The Rich and Furry

As far as famous pets go, Choupette is certainly up there at the very top. The Birman cat was owned by Karl Lagerfeld, the famous fashion designer.

Choupette already had her own Twitter and Instagram accounts with over 200,000 followers and was already herself a millionaire, having earned a reported £2.3 million appearing in car and cosmetic adverts around the world.  Following Karl Lagerfeld’s death, Choupette is reported to have been left a substantial part of his £150m estate in his Will. By any stretch of the imagination, Choupette is now secure for life and will surely never go without her favourite cat biscuits, or an occasional bit of cat nip.

The late Alexander McQueen, who died in 2011, left £50,000 to his three dogs to be placed in a trust to ensure their upkeep for the rest of their lives. McQueen also generously bequeathed £100,000 each to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Blue Cross Sick Animal Centre in Burford.

These are certainly substantial sums, but the world’s richest dog is believed to be Gunther IV, a German shepherd. Gunther IV is estimated to be worth over $370m. The original Gunther was bequeathed $80m from the Countess Carlotta Liebenstein, who died in 1991.

Leaving money in your Will to your pet, or an animal charity, is not new though.

I have a client who left a sum for her cat for her care, with the request that either her close family take care of her, or find her a good home, with a wish that she is never returned to care, having been a rescue cat,”

In a recent case, the deceased had left only small amounts of money to his close relatives. A larger sum of money went to an animal charity with the comment that animals had given him more joy than his family ever had during his life. I wondered if his family were aware of this before he died.

This sentiment is probably not that unusual though, especially with the world as it is today with families seemingly more fractious and broken than ever before. Stepping through your front door after a long hard day at work, who usually rushes to greet you, your partner, or your pet? Who seems more pleased to see you? Answers on a postcard.

A death is a very distressing and confusing time for loved ones and pets are often forgotten about and so, without a plan, may not get the level of care and attention you would have wished for them.

Also, make sure you let your nearest and dearest know in advance. Don’t assume they will take care of your pets after you’ve gone. In a recent survey, 25% of those faced with inheriting a pet said they would choose to give it away or have it put to sleep. Often, they are put off by the associated costs.

While it is unlikely anyone will try to challenge Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy to Choupette, this does happen often and usually the challenge will come from your close relatives who feel aggrieved at being effectively disinherited by an animal, or an animal charity.

Obtaining professional advice is very important when drawing up your Will in these circumstances, to make sure there is as little room as possible for the Will to be successfully challenged after you die. Also, you need to think about what will happen when the pet is no longer alive, or perhaps even goes missing, as some do, before the estate is distributed. What happens to their legacy then? Careful Will drafting is essential.

Contact Barnet Wills on 020 3189 1737 or email info@barnetwills.co.uk today and make sure your wishes are carried out.

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