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Have Any Pets Inherited a Fortune?

Talk about a lucky dog. A German Shepherd named Gunther IV is thought to be the richest animal in the world, with an estimated net worth of more than $370 million USD. The original Gunther belonged to a German countess named Carlotta Liebenstein, who died in 1991. She left $80 million USD in trust to the dog, so he could continue his life of luxury. Since then, the money has passed down to the dog’s heirs -- most recently to Gunther IV -- along with the trust fund, which continues to grow.

Tales of Tommaso and Trouble:

  • Trust funds can be set up to care for the pets of wealthy people, who can rest in peace knowing that their beloved animals will be looked after, typically by a trustee and the animal’s designated caretaker.
  • Other famous trust fund pets include a Maltese terrier named Trouble, a dog owned by hotelier Leona Helmsley. She left Trouble $12 million USD when she died.
  • A former stray roaming the streets of Rome -- a fortunate cat named Tommaso -- inherited $13 million USD when his owner, the widow of an Italian real estate magnate, passed away in 2011.
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