In a remarkable decision that has stirred debate across China, an elderly woman from Shanghai, identified by her surname Liu, has chosen to bequeath her substantial $2.8 million fortune to her beloved pets, leaving nothing for her three adult children.
A Yahoo! News reports, Liu’s choice to favor her cats and dogs over her offspring stems from what she perceived as neglect and abandonment in her later years. Her story underscores the complexities of family dynamics, inheritance practices, and the legal limitations surrounding such unconventional bequests.
A Mother’s Decision
Liu initially drafted her will with intentions to provide for her three children, following the conventional path of ensuring her offspring’s financial well-being after her passing, reports NDTV. However, a series of painful experiences led her to have a change of heart.
Liu’s adult children allegedly failed to visit, contact, or care for her, even during her bouts of illness, reports the New York Post. Feeling abandoned and isolated, Liu found solace in the company of her loyal pets—cats and dogs that stood by her side when her own flesh and blood seemingly did not.
Legal Limitations and Creative Solutions
While Liu’s desire was to leave her entire estate directly to her cherished pets, Chinese law presents an obstacle to this straightforward gesture. In China, individuals are prohibited from leaving money directly to animals, according to the South China Morning Post. To navigate this legal hurdle, a local veterinary clinic has been designated as the administrator of Liu’s sizable inheritance.
Chen Kai, an official from the Will Registration Centre headquarters in Beijing, offered insight into alternative approaches to address this issue.
“Liu’s current will is one way and we would have advised her to appoint a person she trusts to supervise the vet clinic to ensure the pets are properly cared for,” he told the South China Morning Post.
This innovative solution allows Liu to ensure her pets’ well-being even in her absence while adhering to legal requirements.
Potential Risks and Future Flexibility
Recognizing the potential risks associated with entrusting her entire fortune to the veterinary clinic, Liu received cautionary advice from officials. They informed her that if her children were to change their attitude towards her in the future, she could revise her will accordingly, The Independent reports.
Liu’s choice has sparked discussions about the emotional toll and heartbreak that might have driven her to this decision.
Liu’s story has triggered a wide-ranging debate on Chinese social media platforms. Some individuals applaud her decision, expressing solidarity and stating they would do the same if they were mistreated by their children. Others express sympathy for her, acknowledging the emotional turmoil that likely led to her unconventional choice.
A Growing Trend?
Liu’s decision to allocate her fortune to her pets is not the first instance of such unconventional bequests. In the past, there have been cases where wealthy individuals have left substantial inheritances to their animal companions, Business Insider reports. Notably, a German shepherd named Gunther III inherited $65 million from his German countess owner, becoming the richest dog in history.
Liu’s story joins a lineage of individuals who have chosen to prioritize the well-being of their pets in their estate planning. It serves as a reminder of the profound bond between humans and their animal companions, transcending traditional family structures.
As the legal and practical aspects of such bequests continue to evolve, Liu’s decision adds a unique chapter to the ever-expanding narrative of pets inheriting fortunes.
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