An older Chinese woman has decided to leave her $4.3 million AUD inheritance to her pets, deciding to leave nothing to her adult children after they stopped visiting her when she was sick.
The woman from Shanghai, identified by South China Morning Post (SCMP) only by her surname Liu, changed her Will so her assets could be used to care for her cats and dogs and any of their offspring when she died, claiming her three children barely contacted her and did not visit or care for her when she was ill.
While Ms Liu wanted to leave all her money directly to her pets, that is not legal in China.
SCMP reported that a local veterinary clinic has been appointed as the administrator of the inheritance, with legal challenges said to prevent direct bequests to animals in China.
An official from the Eastern China branch of the China Will Registration Centre told the publication that it had alerted Ms Liu to the risks of putting all of her money in the hands of the veterinary clinic and that she could change her mind about the decision.
“We told Auntie Liu that if her children change their attitude towards her, she could always alter her will again,” the official said.
Law firm Maurice Blackburn confirmed pets cannot be named as beneficiaries in Australian wills either — however, people can set up trusts for their animals.
Similarly, in 2020, a wealthy businessman in Tennessee left $US5 million ($7.6 million) to his border collie, Lulu.
We know the value of pets as we age. Interaction with pets can improve levels of Serotonin, Prolactin, and Oxytocin promoting pleasure and happiness, thus reducing depression, anxiety and loneliness among older people.
Would you make the same decision as Ms Liu? Let us know in the comments below