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13 People Who Left Their Fortunes to Their Pets

Updated August 6, 2018 10.8k views13 items

If you're an animal lover, you might get along with your pets better than you do with people. But do you love your pets so much that you would include them in your will and cut your family members out? That's exactly what many of the people on this list did. These are people who left their fortunes to their pets - often at the expense of those closest to them. 

If you're wondering what a dog is going to do with $10 million, the answer is, "Not much." These rich people who gave money to their pets also assigned trustees to take charge of the money and spend it on the animals. Many of these trustees got pretty sweet deals themselves; most of them got to live in the rich person's mansion while taking care of the animals.

Would you leave your fortune to your dog? If you were this rich, you just might. Check out these people who left pets money.

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  • Video: YouTube

    Leona Helmsley was the wife of Harry B. Helmsley, a New York City real estate tycoon. Leona survived her husband, and when she died in 2007, she left $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble. Trouble received so many death threats that Helmsley's trustees had to hire security personnel to protect the dog.

    Two of Helmsley's grandchildren were entirely left out of the will, and they filed a lawsuit. A judge decided to reduce Trouble's portion of the will to $2 million and give the two snubbed grandchildren a total of $6 million. The majority of Helmsley's estate went to charity to care for dogs.

  • Video: YouTube

    Oprah has five dogs: Luke, Layla, Sadie, Sunny, and Lauren. Whether they will outlive their owner nobody can tell, but if they do, they will be well taken care of. Oprah has set aside $30 million of her estate to care for her beloved canines.

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  • Maria Assunta Left $13 Million to Her Cat

    Video: YouTube

    Maria Assunta was the widow of an Italian real estate investor. She had no children, so she took in a stray cat from the streets of Rome and named him Tommaso. When she died in 2011, she left her entire $13 million fortune to the cat and gave her nurse the responsibility of caring for him.

  • Margaret Layne Left Her House and a Trust Fund to a Stray Cat

    A wealthy British woman named Margaret Layne was befriended by a stray cat about a year before she died in 2003. Layne named the cat Tinker, and in her will she left him a $130,000 trust and allowed him to stay in her house in North London for the rest of his life. Layne put her neighbors in charge of taking care of the house and looking after Tinker. The neighbors' cats, Lucy and Stardust, apparently "chose" to move in with Tinker.