Can pets inherit property?

Can pets inherit property?

  26 Dec 2023

People have enjoyed the companionship of animals for thousands of years, but can we protect their futures by leaving them property in our wills?

Around two-thirds of Australian homes have a pet of some sort.

Not only do dogs and cats protect our homes from unwelcome visitors, but they also provide fun, and friendship and give our lives additional meaning.

In many of our households, pets are treated like members of the family, be they dogs, cats, fish, birds or more exotic and unusual animals such as monkeys, turtles — even snakes.

So how can you ensure the future welfare of your furry, feathered or scaly family member after you’ve passed away?

When the notorious “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley died in 2008, one provision of her will allocated $12 million for the care of her dog, a Maltese Terrier named Trouble.

In Germany, when Countess Karlotta Libenstein passed away in 1991, she left her entire $80 million fortune to her pet, a German shepherd named Gunther III.

Trustees of the estate have done well with investments since then turning Gunther’s inheritance into roughly $375 million, which now belongs to the next in line, Gunther IV.

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