When Karl Lagerfeld died in February 2019 at the age of 85, there was much speculation over who would inherit the fashion designer’s £150m fortune.
Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel, had no children. In media interviews over the years he’d expressed the wish that Choupette, his Burmese cat, would be heiress to some of his estate.
A pampered pet
Choupette was already accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, according to Harper’s Bazaar. It was reported that she was brushed six times a day. She also had a personal chef, maids and a bodyguard, and ate caviar and chicken pate from silver dishes on the dining table.
She wasn’t just a kept cat, however. Thanks to her fame and good looks, she earned $3m advertising cars and beauty products. She’s also big on social – her Instagram account boasts nearly 300,000 followers.
Leaving a gift
Few of us are as wealthy as Lagerfeld. But many people are keen to leave generous gifts to pets in their wills.
But despite what stories in the media suggest, animals can’t own bank accounts and so aren’t legally allowed to inherit money.
Fortunately, there are two ways of securing a happy future for your beloved pets.
One is to leave a gift to a trusted friend or relative. This could be left along with instructions in a Memorandum of Wishes – a document included with your will.
For wealthier pet owners, a trust may be a better solution. Putting money into a trust wouldn’t gift the money directly. Rather, trustees could access funds to take care of the pet according to your instructions.
If you set up a discretionary trust, trustees would have the power to make decisions about how to use the trust funds.
Few pets are as pampered as Choupette. But by remembering your pets when you make your will, you can ensure they’ll be properly looked after when you’re no longer around to take care of them.