It’s not uncommon for pets to be provided for in their owners’ wills, and many U.S. states now even have statutes concerning pet trusts. But the tiny inheritances of most ordinary animals are chicken feed compared to the gigantic fortunes of these animal millionaires. Rather than thinking about all of the other, more productive uses for the millions these animals inherited, just try to enjoy the absurdity of a chimp or a chicken that has more money in the bank than most of us will ever see in a lifetime.
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1. Gunther IV the German Shepherd.
With a fortune valued at more than $300 million, this pampered pooch is far and away the world’s richest animal. Gunther IV inherited his millions from his father, (wait for it…) Gunther III, who in turn inherited his fortune from the eccentric German countess Karlotta Libenstein. Gunther’s entourage includes servants and maids, a chauffeur, and a personal chef, and he reportedly owns a Miami villa that once belonged to Madonna.
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2. Kalu the Chimpanzee.
This chimp is perhaps the only animal better known for losing a fortune rather than gaining one. Kalu was set to inherit a whopping $65 million from Patricia O’Neill, a millionaire aristocrat who rescued the chimp from war-ravaged Zaire in 1985. Unfortunately, O’Neil announced in 2010 that she was nearly penniless after falling victim to financial swindling, leaving almost no inheritance for Kalu. Somehow it’s hard to believe the chimp really cares either way.
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3. Tommasino the Cat
When 94-year-old Italian millionaire Maria Assunta died in 2011, she left her entire $15 million fortune to her cat Tommasino, making him the wealthiest feline in the world. Although Italian law prohibits Tommasino from inheriting the money directly, Assunta’s will also calls the fortune to be donated to a “worthy animal association,” which is presumably a better use of $15 million than what most of these other animals are spending their riches on.
4. Gigoo the Hen.
British publishing mogul Miles Blackwell had unusual taste in pets and unusual stipulations in his will. After the death of his wife, Blackwell altered his will and left everything to his beloved hen Gigoo – a fortune of nearly $14 million when converted to U.S. currency. Gigoo’s wealth ensures that she’ll always be at the top of the financial pecking order.
5. Trouble the Maltese.
The so-called “Queen of Mean” may have not liked humans (or paying taxes!) very much, but Leona Helmsley sure did love her Maltese. After her death in 2007, the notorious hotel and real estate mogul left a trust valued at $12 million to her beloved Trouble, making the lap dog one of the wealthiest — and most famous — animals on the planet. Her estate was worth billions, and, though 2 of her 4 grandchildren didn’t make the cut, and the other two grandchildren received a measly $10 million, the estate bankrolled Trouble’s lavish lifestyle to the tune of $100,000 per year. So how on earth can you spend that much on a dog? Well, the bulk of it went to private security, $8,000 for grooming, and $1,200 for food. Trouble passed away in 2010, and the remainder of her trust went to charity.