At first glance, wills and estate planning can seem dull. We don’t blame you for thinking that, but we have some stories that might just change your mind.
Join us for Eccentric Estates as we cover famous and fascinating wills in history that will make estate planning a bit more… fun?
This week, we’re sharing the story of a will that set records for her dog. German Countess Korlotta Liebenstein died in 1992 and left her $65 million fortune to her German Shepherd Gunther III.
Meet Gunther IV: The German Shepherd With A $375 Million Net Worth
Countess Korlotta Liebenstein had no children or close relatives, so she left her fortune to her dog, Gunther III. When Gunther III passed away, the fortune was passed on to his son, Gunther IV. Gunther is now the richest dog in the world. This German Shepherd lives a luxurious life in Germany.
Who Was In Charge Of Managing The Money?
You might have asked - how was a dog in charge of money? Good question! The human trustees were in charge of the money and were also responsible for investing it. They have done well with investing her money, turning the inheritance into roughly $375 million. Gunther’s money had been invested in mansions and villas around the world. Madonna even sold a mansion worth $75 million dollars to Gunther.
What Did We Learn?
It’s no surprise that people want to ensure their pets are cared for when they pass. However, only 7% of pet owners in Canada have made formal arrangements for their pets. Many of us believe that a family member or friend will step up to the plate and take the pet in. While this is true in many situations, it’s certainly not always the case. In fact, one of the top reasons pets end up in shelters is because owners haven’t accounted for who would care for them when they pass away.
Countess Korlotta Liebenstein’s story highlights the importance of outlining your wishes. She made the informed decision to ensure her dog was cared for and listed her wishes about who she wanted to be in charge of her fortune. This helped her $65 million dollars turn into $375 million dollars. On Willful you can appoint a pet guardian to care for them and leave money for their care. We've made it easy to calculate how much to leave in your pet trust. Try our calculator here.
Whether you choose to write your will by hand, use an online platform like Willful, or get help from a lawyer, it’s important to be clear with your wishes. This means clearly stating what you do and don’t want to do with your estate.
With Willful, you can create your will online from the comfort of your home. Start your will for free here.
To learn more about protecting your pets if you pass away, learn more about how to plan for your pets in your will.