According to the American Hospital Association, 70% of people sign their pet’s name on greeting cards, and 58% include their pets in family and holiday portraits. In fact, in a Kelton Research survey, 81% of respondents put their pets on par with children in their family, and these furry family members are even being included in estate planning. More than 44 percent of people have made either written or verbal plans for the care of their pets as part of their estate planning, according to a survey of pet owners by Securian Financial Group.
And that’s how the following 8 pets amassed their wealth. They inherited it. In some cases, their owners chose to bequeath them with obscene amounts of money. Other pets inherited grand estates or villas. And still others were left with their own housekeeper or even endless gourmet meals. Yes, these are 8 of the richest pet beneficiaries in the world. Read on to see who got millions!
1. Chunmun The Macaque-heir
Pets come in all shapes and sizes. And while most of us have cats and dogs, others have macaques. At least they do in India, where a wealthy couple adopted Chunmun and treated him like the son they never had. According to MSN, “Brajesh and Shabista Srivastava, a prosperous childless Indian couple, adopted a monkey such as this one in 2004 and raised him like a son. Estranged from their families because of their inter-faith marriage, the Srivastavas lavished their affections on Chunmun, a long-tailed macaque who eats like a prince and had a ‘wedding’ in 2010. The simian is set to inherit a house and businesses and when he ᴅɪᴇs the remaining fortune will be spent on the welfare of monkeys.”
2. Oprah’s Lucky Dogs
We all know that billionaire Oprah Winfrey is a dog lover. She’s shown the world the sweetness of English Golden Retrievers. She introduced us to dog whisperer Cesar Milan. According to Oprah Magazine, “Oprah has had over 20 dogs, many of whom she’s sadly lost. Longtime fans will likely remember cocker spaniels Sophie, Solomon, and golden retriever Luke. But today, she has three cuddlers: springer spaniels Sunny and Lauren, and cocker spaniel Saᴅɪᴇ.” And these lucky dogs live a life of luxury, which will continue through a sizable inheritance estimated at $30 million if they outlive their star mom.
3. Conchita, Lucia, And April Marie, A Lucky Doggy Trio
Socialite Gail Posner was another woman with a passion for pets and not much love for her family. A huge chunk of her multimillion-dollar fortune, including $3 million in trust funds and her $8 million mansion, was gifted to her three dogs, Conchita, Lucia, and April Marie.
Not surprisingly, this trio’s inheritance was not well-received by Posner’s son. In a lawsuit, her son ᴀʟʟᴇɢᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏɴsᴘɪʀᴀᴄʏ by Posner’s house waitstaff, pointing to the $27 million the staff received in return for caring for the dogs after her ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ.
4. Silverstone The Wealthy Tortoise
Silverstone the Wealthy Tortoise sounds like a great name for a children’s book, right? All the more appropriate, since Silverstone’s human was Christine Foyles of famed Foyles bookshop. “When she ᴅɪᴇd in 1999, she made sure that her menagerie of animals got a cut of her $87 million estate. Her cats and tortoise Silverstone — and their cash — were bequeathed to Foyle’s housekeeper, while an estimated $100,000 was left to Foyle’s handyman to look after her collie cross dog and remaining tortoises,” according to MSN.
5. Kalu, The Chimp With $70 Million
A chimp named Kalu was the headliner for a group of over 40 animals that stood to inherit up to $70 million. “The daughter of a British countess and ex-wife of Olympic medalist Frank O’Neill added her beloved pet chimp to her will, reportedly while he was away at the Sydney Games. A collection of over 40 animals, headlined by Kalu, stood to inherit O’Neill’s Cape Town estate,” according to Everplans. Unfortunately, the inheritance was mostly gone after a crooked financial adviser misappropriated the funds.
6. The Trouble With $12 Million
When his owner ᴅɪᴇd in 1988, Blackie the cat became the richest cat heir in the world at that time, receiving an estimated $12.5 million upon the ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ of his human. According to Everplans, “Fiercely reclusive, British antique dealer Ben Rea would have ᴅɪᴇd in relative obscurity in 1988 had he not endowed almost his entire estate to Blackie, the lone remaining feline from a group of 15, along with three cat charities.” Nothing of the estate was gifted to family members.
7. Bubbles The Chimp
Michael Jackson lived an extravagant life. One of his extravagances was a pet chimpanzeee named Bubbles. According to Everplans: “Long before it became a reality, Jackson left his chimp Bubbles $2 million payable upon his ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ. However, fears that the chimp’s increasing ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪᴏɴ might be a ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ to Jackson’s newborn son forced the preemptive relocation of Bubbles to an animal sanctuary, where he lives to this day.”
Bubble’s new home is the Center For Great Apes. They report: “As a 185-pound, 4½-foot adult male, Bubbles is now the dominant male in a group of chimpanzees that includes his best friend, Ripley, adult females Oopsie, Boma, Jessie, and Kodua, and the juvenile Stryker.”
8. $106 Million Dog
The wealthiest pet ever, according to Investopedia, is Gunther IV, who inherited his fortune from Gunther III, who reportedly inherited his millions in 1992 from a German countess, Karlotta Libenstein. The reported inheritance was $106 million. The money was invested by trustees, and grew to as much as $372 million.
Gunther IV reportedly purchased a villa from Madonna for more than $3 million and a rare white truffle for $1,500. Everplans reports: “The sale was part of a publicity stunt involving a European pop group, leading many to question the credibility of certain parts of the story, from whether or not Gunther IV is actually the scion of Gunther III to whether the German countess even existed in the first place.”