Will Fashion Icon Karl Lagerfeld’s Cat Inherit $300MM Fortune?

After the passing of world-renowned fashion designer and icon Karl Lagerfeld last week, many have wondered what will happen to his estimated $300 million fortune. Having no children, there is much speculation over the specifics of Lagerfeld’s estate plan. Many even believe that his beloved cat Choupette will be one of the primary beneficiaries. Considering the validity of pet trusts varies by country and state, Lagerfeld leaving his fortune to his cat may have taken some very hairy estate planning.

The furry Lagerfeld heiress is famous in her own right, having an income from modeling and her own maids and chef. She also has almost 300k Instagram followers, two books written about her, and a makeup line. It’s not surprising that one of Lagerfeld’s main wishes was to continue providing Choupette the same lavish lifestyle after his passing.

The laws surrounding leaving money to your pets differ from country to country, which is essential in Lagerfeld’s case since he was a German citizen residing in France. Unfortunately for Lagerfeld, France’s laws state that money can only be left to a physical person or foundation, meaning Choupette could not be left an inheritance directly. If Lagerfeld did in fact plan for Choupette to receive something, he would have needed an estate planning advisor to give him the viable options to achieve this goal. He could either create a foundation whose goal is to take care of Choupette, donate to a non-profit that would agree to care for Choupette, or leave Choupette and her inheritance to a trusted friend.

On the other hand, in the United States, pet trusts are legal, though there needs to be a human in charge of the funds. Additionally, many courts have the freedom to make changes to the dollar amount if they feel that the inheritance amount is unreasonably large. All these different laws stress the importance of consulting a professional estate planning advisor to help you reach your end goals including the care of your beloved pets.

Though your options are virtually limitless, proper estate planning -deciding on the “who, what, when, and how” and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees and court costs possible can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.