Wills
Inheritances made to Pets
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Inheritances made to Pets

By 

Jennifer Mcgee

Head of Legal at TrulyWill

You must have seen the ultra-high net worth individuals making their Last Wills and Testaments for their family and friends. There are several instances of inheritances made to pets also. This may look surprising but there are cats, dogs and monkeys having their own villas, cars, shares, etc.

You can also create a will for your pets if you want.

The pet trust law says animals are property, and one piece of property cannot own another piece of property. But, you have a range of options.

  1. Make non-legal arrangements
  2. Make a complex trust.
  3. Leave your pet with an organization dedicated to taking care of pets after an owner's death.

Table of Contents:

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Leona Helmsley
  3. Majel Barrett
  4. Lessons we learnt from these Wills.

Following is the list of celebrities who made inheritances to their.

Michael Jackson

Leona Hemsley 

Majel Barrett

Died at 51 with a high net worth of $500 million.

Died at 87 with a net worth of around $4 billion.

Died at the age of 76 with a net worth of $1,00,000. 

Jackson owned a chimpanzee(Bubbles) as his pet. Bubbles are among the pets that have significant inheritances given to them by their owners.

She left $12 million in her will to her dog who was an 8-year-old Maltese, Trouble. 

She left a $4 million trust to the couple's dogs, and $1 million to their caretaker.


Michael Jackson

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, and songwriter. 

Michael Jackson made his entire estate a family trust with his mother Katherine Jackson, as legal guardian of his three children and beneficiary of the trust.

Jackson owned a chimpanzee(Bubbles) as his pet. Bubbles is among the pets that have significant inheritances given to them by their owners. Jackson left his chimp $2 million payable upon his death.

Bubbles used to travel frequently with Jackson, drawing attention from the media. In 1987, he and Jackson drank tea with the mayor of Osaka, Japan.

Click here to read his complete Will.

 

Leona Helmsley

Leona Hemsley was an American Businesswoman. She was regarded as the "Queen of Mean".

Mrs Hemsley left the bulk of her fortune to 2 charitable trusts and the rest of her Estate to her 4 grandchildren. Her son predeceased her by 25 years

She also made a bequest of $12 million in her will to her dog who was an 8-year-old Maltese, Trouble.

There was a 2-page instruction by her that this amount should be used in the care and welfare of dogs.


Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was an American actress and producer, best known for her roles in the Star Trek franchise. She was the wife of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

Majel outlived her husband for 20 years. In 2008, when she died, she left a $4 million trust to the couple's dogs, and $1 million to their caretaker. The caretaker used to live in the mansion with the pups and take care of them.

Lessons we learnt from these Wills:    

    1.     Do not leave money or property directly for your Pets

If you leave anything for your pet directly into your Wills, your Pet will get nothing and that property will be included in your  “Residuary Estate”. Assign a caretaker for your pet with that money to take care of your pet.

     2.    Choose a trustworthy person as the caretaker.  

Never trust anyone blindly and put them in charge of managing the affairs of your pets after you.

You can take legal assistance online for this to avoid any complications in the future.

Got Questions?

Hi, I’m Jennifer McGee.

Co-founder & Head of Legal at TrulyWill

Feel free to book a call with me to help you with your estate plan.

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Can you leave inheritance to a pet?
Animals are property, and one piece of property cannot own another piece of property. But, you have a range of options like creating a Trust or Organizations to look after them.
Which dog is the richest?
Gunther VI is the world's richest dog.
Can I make changes to my Will once I have signed it?
Yes. There are 2 ways of making changes to your Will. 1. Creating a new Will. You can create a new Will if you have gone through certain changes in your life including marriage, birth, divorce, etc 2. Making a Codicil. Codicil is an additional or supplementary document given with a Will when you amend, revoke, explain or modify a certain part of your Will.
What are the benefits of creating a Will?
By creating a Will you ensure that certain assets and the properties you own are inherited by your family, friends, or even non-profits after you die. Will come into effect only after the death of the person who made it.
Should I wait for retirement to make a Will?
Life is unpredictable. The only certainty in life is Death. You should be prepared for the inevitable circumstances and start thinking about making a Will to avoid any legal and financial grief to your loved ones.
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