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Elderly woman in China leaves £2.2m fortune to pets – report

She changed her will because her children ‘neglected her in old age’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 25 January 2024 06:03 GMT
File. Still from Netflix’s Gunther’s Millions docuseries
File. Still from Netflix’s Gunther’s Millions docuseries (Netflix)

An elderly woman in China has decided to leave her $2.8m (£2.2m) fortune to her cats and dogs instead of her adult children because they never visited her while her pets kept her company.

A woman in Shanghai, identified by her surname Liu, changed her will because her children allegedly neglected her in her old age, while her pets provided companionship and comfort.

A local veterinary clinic has been appointed as the administrator of the inheritance, with legal challenges preventing direct bequests to animals in China, South China Morning Post, citing Zonglan News, said.

Ms Liu wanted to leave all her inheritance to her pets but that is not legal in China. She was also reportedly angry with her offspring for not visiting her, even when she was sick.

The exact age of Ms Liu was not clear. She was referred to as an “elderly” woman in news reports.

Chen Kai, an official from the country’s Will Registration Centre headquarters in Beijing, told the outlet that “there are alternatives to solve this issue”.

“Liu’s current will is one way, and we would have advised her to appoint a person she trusts to supervise the vet clinic to ensure the pets are properly cared for,” he added.

The story has reportedly sparked online discussions about family dynamics and inheritance practices in China.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time pets have got rich after their humans left them a huge inheritance. Notably, the legal and practical aspects of such bequests can differ.

One such case is of a hotel magnate Leona Helmsley, who bequeathed $12m (£9.4m) in a trust fund for the well-being of her Maltese dog named Trouble upon her death in 2007.

But this inheritance garnered much public attention and criticism, leading to a subsequent reduction of the amount to $2m (£1.57m) by a judge.

Another dog, a German Shepherd named Gunther IV, was considered one of the world’s richest dogs. According to the Guinness World Records, German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein died and left Gunther IV her multi-million fortune. This story was also documented in a Netflix documentary series Gunther’s Millions.

In 2010, fashion designer Alexander McQueen allocated a substantial part of his $20m (£15.7m) estate to his dogs. The “Rich Dogs Of Instagram” documents the luxurious lives some dogs lead.

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