Senior Leaves $2.8 Million Estate to Pets, Not Kids

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson

What do you need to consider when planning the future care of your pets?

Photo Credit: Ripio /

There are not many testaments to the value placed on our pet’s love and devotion that are greater than this recent story out of China about an older woman who has decided to leave her entire $2.8 million fortune to her dog and cat. The three kids she devoted her life to raising - yet apparently never heard from - walk away with nothing.

Her rationale behind this decision is that her furry housemates have been loving, long-time companions to her in her old age whereas the children have been rather incommunicado over the past several years. So, as is her right, she has provided in her will for her pets to be taken care of (very well taken care of) for the remainder of their lives and that the three kids can fend for themselves.

Of course, dogs are useless when it comes to using a credit card or paying the bills on time, so when the time is right, all funds will be relegated to a local veterinary clinic that will oversee the fortune and ensure the four-legged family members retain the creature comforts they have become accustomed to.

Officials in China are unconvinced that bequeathing such a large amount to a local clinic was a fiscally sound decision (best to entrust to a lawyer or bank), but the pet owner is resolute and her decision will ultimately prevail.

Now, most pet owners don’t go to the extreme of totally disinheriting family members in favor of their pooch however, it’s understandable that we all want to ensure our furry companion has a loving home and a guardian who will take good care of them after we’ve passed over that rainbow bridge.

That’s why including this type of directive in a will isn’t that uncommon. I mean, while your sister, nephew, daughter or best friend might be happy to take in your furry crew (a smiling Fergie corralling the Queen’s corgis comes to mind), it can get pricey and in fairness, you need to ensure future expenses related to your pet are covered off.

So, how much should you bequeath to this future care-giver? Consider the age and health of your pet. Then factor in food, treats, toys, and for some breeds, regular grooming. Vet bills can mount up quickly and you’ll want to ensure your pet receives his/her vaccines on an annual basis as well as emergency care for illness or injury if needed. For a designated guardian who works, you may need to consider whether they’ll need to hire a dog walker. And if they like to travel, boarding fees can also factor in. In the end, it’s estimated you should allot approximately $10,000 per pet per year, when writing up your will and assigning a guardian.

Lots to consider when we think about future-care for our best buddies!

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

More by Mary Simpson