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Woman with Cat

When he passed away in February 2019, Karl Lagerfeld left his cat, Choupette, £153 million in his Will. If the correct legal arrangements were made, Choupette could inherit the money under German law.

Lagerfeld adored the cat and hired two maids to look after her, as well as having four different dishes prepared for her every day. But his family and friends don’t need to be jealous about her inheritance, as he previously joked that there would be ‘enough for everyone’ in his Will.

Karl Lagerfeld isn’t the only famous face to leave behind a sizeable amount of money to a pet. Alexander McQueen left £50,000 of his £16 million Will to his dogs, so that they could be pampered for the rest of their lives. Oprah Winfrey also allegedly plans to leave around £23 million to her canine companions.

If Mr Lagerfeld had left his beloved cat the money in the UK, the gift would have failed. This is because animals can’t legally own property or bank accounts. However, if you wish to provide for your furry family members in your Will, it’s possible with the right advice and planning.

You can pass money on to a beneficiary to pay for your pet’s care, maintenance and any other expenses – but the purpose of the money needs to be clear in your Will. It’s important that the amount you leave is appropriate, by taking the pet’s needs into account and how long they may live for. You’ll also need to create a gift in your Will, which gives your chosen beneficiary the ownership of the pet. It’s advisable to speak to them first, to get consent that they’re happy to take on the responsibility. Writing an additional Letter of Wishes could further outline how you’d like your pet to be taken care of, and how you want the money to be spent.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, you could request that your pet is looked after by an animal charity instead. Several organisations accept pets left homeless after an owner’s death, like the RSPCA. To do this, you’ll need to include this information in your Will and complete an application with your chosen charity.

If you want to make plans for your pet’s future once you pass away, our expert consultants are here to help. Find out more and get in touch today.