Pets Who Earned Millions In Inheritance From Their Owners

These pets inherited (or for some, are set to inherit) $2.8 million to $13 million from their owners for their years of companionship and love. 

Most pet owners can agree that their furry friends are the paragon of unconditional love, and have truly made their lives better in many ways. As such, people often treat their four-legged companions as members of the family. Some elderly owners even go as far as giving their pets an actual inheritance through their wills. 

READ ALSO: Privileged Pets: 4 Private Jets For Our Furry Friends

A number of animal companions have received jaw-dropping amounts of money from their beloved pet parents. Below are four examples of furry friends becoming wealthy heirs to million-dollar fortunes: 

Tommaso: The Cat Who Inherited $13 Million

First in the list is Tommaso, an Italian cat who inherited a grand $13 million from 94-year-old owner Maria Assunta upon her passing in December 2011, reports Huffpost. Assunta had no children, but was incredibly wealthy as the wife of a builder, according to John Hooper of The Guardian. So in 2009, she created a handwritten will that bequeathed the hefty inheritance to Tommaso, but not directly.

Tommaso inherited $13 million from his owner, wealthy Italian Maria Assunta
Tommaso inherited $13 million from his owner, wealthy Italian Maria Assunta/Photo by Amber Kipp via Unsplash

She entrusted a nurse, friend, and fellow cat-lover Stefania with the fortune, asking her to look after her beloved feline once she passed away. To avoid attracting unwanted attention, Stefania moved to an undisclosed location outside their hometown of Rome so she could care for the signora’s cat in peace. 

Blackie: The Black Cat Who Inherited $12.5 Million 

Ben Rea, a wealthy antiques dealer from the UK, gave a $12.5 million (£7 million) inheritance to his cat Blackie before passing away in May 1988, according to the Guinness World Records. However, Rea didn’t give it directly to his feline; instead, he had three cat charities split the fortune to take care of Blackie upon his passing. This made the cat the wealthiest in the world for years. The feline was the last surviving cat of Rea (who originally owned 15), and lived in his owner’s mansion. 

Blackie was the richest cat in the world, having inherited $12.5 million from his owner Ben Rea in 1988
Blackie was the richest cat in the world, having inherited $12.5 million from his owner Ben Rea in 1988/Photo by Gio Bartlett via Unsplash

Rea was a bit of a recluse, so his animal companions meant a lot to him, and he donated a great amount of his fortune to animal charities. Thea Langton for Guinness World Records adds that Blackie’s inheritance would be worth around $32 million today. 

Conchita: The Chihuahua Who Inherited $3 Million

Then there’s Conchita, the lovely chihuahua of late Miami heiress Gail Posner. While she was alive, the wealthy woman often pampered her pooch with expensive wellness treatments and spent an average of $8,000 a month for the chihuahua, reports Madison Vanderberg for Business Insider. Before she died in March 2010, Posner had left her $8.3 million mansion and $3 million in assets to Conchita, according to Nicholas Graham of Huffpost. Of course, she also left some money to her aids and bodyguards, instructing them to care for the darling chihuahua when she passes. 

Conchita the chihuahua inherited $3 million when her owner, Miami heiress Gail Posner, died in 2010
Conchita the chihuahua inherited $3 million when her owner, Miami heiress Gail Posner, died in 2010/Photo by Mélanie THESE via Unsplash

Though this made Conchita quite the wealthy dog—an heiress in her own right—Posner’s decision started an intense legal battle between her children and, yes, the dog. The socialite’s family also blamed the household aids for influencing their mother to change her will while she was ailing, and they also cited their mother’s troubled past as a source of questionable decisions, writes Elaine Walker for the Seattle Times. However, it’s quite possible that the wealthy woman simply loved her dog quite a lot. 

Trouble: The Maltese Who Inherited $2 Million

Trouble was the maltese of real estate tycoon and billionaire Leona Helmsley. Contrary to her name, the little dog experienced no trouble at all: in fact, she turned heads when his fur mom left the pooch a $12 million inheritance upon her passing in 2007, reports Julie Zeveloff of Business Insider. Unfortunately, a judge deemed the inheritance was too big, and cut it down to $2 million instead. 

Trouble initially inherited $12 million from her late owner Leona Helmsley, but the amount went down to $2 million
Trouble initially inherited $12 million from her late owner Leona Helmsley, but the amount went down to $2 million/Photo by dole777 via Unsplash

Still, Trouble was left with no small amount, and continued to live a life of luxury until she died at the ripe old age of 12 in June 2011, writes Mark Memmott of NPR. While the little dog was alive, she spent around $100,000 per year, Memmott adds. Her lifestyle included a cozy home at the Helmsley Sandcastle hotel in Sarasota, according to ABC News. Zeveloff of Business Insider wrote that Trouble sported diamond collars, rode long limousines and private jets, and ate fresh meat and veggies from a hotel chef who, quite literally, served them on a silver platter. 

With such an opulent daily routine and a large fortune, Trouble had to travel with her own personal security, adds ABC News, as she was (sadly) the target of many kidnapping and death threats. Thankfully, the little dog managed to live a full and comfortable life, to say the least. 

More Recently: An Elderly Chinese Woman Is Set To Bequeath $2.8 Million To Her Pets

Another pet inheritance story that’s been making headlines recently is that of an elderly Chinese woman, which the South China Morning Post can only identify by her last name “Liu.” Though the lady initially wrote a will that included her three children, she recently decided to change it and exclude them, instead giving around $2.8 million (¥20 million) in assets to her pets, reports Frank Chung of the New York Post

An elderly Chinese woman by the last name “Liu” is leaving $2.8 million in her newest will to her pets
An elderly Chinese woman by the last name “Liu” is leaving $2.8 million in her newest will to her pets/Photo by Alec Favale via Unsplash

According to Alia Shoaib of Business Insider, the woman had felt that her children neglected her, especially when she was ill. Alice Yan of the South China Morning Post adds that the children seldom contacted or visited their elderly mother. 

Though Chinese law prohibits pets from inheriting money, the woman and government officials have found a way to navigate the restrictions. The lady will be entrusting the fortune to a local veterinary clinic, so they could use it to care for her pets and their offspring after her death. Officials have warned Liu of the risks of doing so, and advised that she have a trusted point person to ensure that the vet is using the money properly. That said, Tamara Davison of The Independent states that the woman seems “resolute in her decision,” though her children could potentially challenge the new will. 

Banner photo by Karsten Winegeart via Unsplash

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