Eight Richest Animals in History
The first documented instance where a person left their wealth to an animal happened in Russia during the 1800s. Maria Leontieva, a merchant from Uglish, stipulated that 100,000 rubles (a significantly large sum at the time) was to be given to her dog Serko in the event of her death.
In the U.S., the precedent for leaving assets to an animal started with Jonathan Jackson. In 1880 he left orders that a hotel was to be built for his cats. Since 1923, it’s been legal in America for a person to leave assets to their pets.
Trouble the Dog
Maltese terrier, Trouble is worth $1.6 million. Were it not for his former owner’s relatives, though, he’d actually be worth a lot more. His departed owner was property billionaire, Leona Helmsley, who originally left Trouble $12 million when she died in 2007.
Trouble’s inheritance was slashed, when Helmsley's grandchildren (who she had disowned) contested the will. The New York State Attorney General’s Office lowered Trouble’s inheritance because it was ruled that Helmsley had been mentally unstable when she decided to leave her money to her pet. This is despite the fact that Helmsley had been nicknamed the “Queen of Mean” and openly loathed her grandchildren. This left very little doubt that she honestly wanted to leave all the money to her dog.
Thanks to the money, Trouble lived the remainder of his life in luxury in Florida aided by Clark Lekic, the general manager for the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.Trouble passed away when he was twelve.
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was the widow of ‘Star Trek’ (1966 – 1969) creator Gene Roddenberry. When she died in 2008, she left her dogs a fortune of $4,000,000, with another million allocated to her employee, Reinelda Estupinian.
Estupinian was entrusted to take care of the animals, given that Barrett-Roddenberry felt that Estupinian had taken as good care of the animals, if not better than than Roddenberry, over the years.
Gigoo the Chicken
Gigoo is the richest chicken in the world, and has a net worth around $10 million. She inherited the fortune thanks to publisher, Miles Blackwell.
With his wife gone, Blackwell felt that there was no human he wished to leave his money to. So Blackwell decided to leave it to his pet chicken.
Tommasino - The Third Richest Cat in the World
After being rescued by millionaire Maria Assunta, Tommasino the cat made a huge impact in the last years of the elderly woman’s life. So much so, that he inherited her entire fortune of $13 million when Assunta passed away. This immediately made him the third richest cat in the world.
Oprah is a vocal animal lover and has numerous pets that are under her care. Should any of them outlive her, then they will be set for life because Oprah has stipulated that $30 million of her incredible fortune will be allocated to the care of her animals. She has five dogs and a variety of other animals that will benefit from the money.
Blackie the Cat
The wealthiest cat in the world is Blackie, and has a net worth around $25 million. He inherited the fortune when his owner Ben Rea left his money to his beloved cat – and ONLY to his cat. Rea refused to leave anything to his human relatives because over the years he had become estranged from them.
As a notorious recluse, Rea found companionship with his cat. He wanted to ensure that Blackie would live the rest of his life in comfort.
Kalu the Chimp
Kalu is a chimpanzee who currently lives a life of luxury with the woman who saved her in 1985, Patricia O’Neal. O’Neal is the daughter of the Countess of Kenmore. O’Neal had found Kalu tied to a tree out in front of the Argentinian Consul-General among the war-ravaged countryside of Zaire.
Assuming she outlives his owner, Kalu will continue with her enviable life given that O’Neal changed her will in 2000, ensuring that Kalu would inherit her residence in Cape Town, South Africa that is worth around $80 million.
The only thing that may stand in Kula’s way would be Patricia’s husband, former Australian swimmer, Frank O’Neal. Patricia changed her will while Frank was away, attending the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, suggesting that she did so knowing that Frank would have objected had he been aware of her intentions.
Gunther IV the Dog
Gunther is a German Shepherd worth around $324 million dollars. He inherited the wealth from his father Gunther III, who inherited the original amount of $124 million in 1992 from his former owner, Karlotta Liebenstein. When Gunther III passed away, his own fortune, which had increased significantly over the years, was handed down to his son.
Representatives of Gunther IV have used his money to purchase Madonna’s former Miami villa, properties in the Bahamas, Germany and Italy, a BMW, a truffle worth around $1,300 and to hire a personal chef in additoin to a large number of servants.
There is speculation in the media that, while Gunther III legitimately inherited his fortune from Liebenstein, Guther IV’s inheritance is just an elaborate publicity stunt made by those around him. However, a legitimate law firm in the Bahamas manages his finances, suggesting that everything may actually be on the up and up after all. This would make Gunther IV the richest dog in the world. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that whether Gunther IV is officially super-rich or not, he lives like he’s the richest dog in the world.
On the surface it sounds eccentric, if not completely crazy to leave assets to a pet. Especially taking into consideration the numerous people and causes around the world that could really use the assistance and opportunity that the money could buy. But when you really think about how much pets can bring to people’s lives – the companionship, the enjoyment and the unconditional love – you begin to understand why.