People around the world consider their pets to be members of their families. Various cultures throughout history not only loved their pets, they treated them with deep respect. Today, multiple cultures continue to embrace pet ownership while taking the overall welfare of animals seriously.  However, there are some who have taken extra precautions when it comes to the future care of their pets. Learning how these celebrities planned for their pets’ futures will give you an idea of how versatile and all-encompassing the right estate plan can be.   

Picked Trustees with an Eye for Investments

When German Countess Karlotta Libenstein passed away in 1991, she left her entire estate to her beloved pet German shepherd. The dog, Gunther III, was left in the care of trustees who were given the task of protecting and investing his inheritance. Initially, Gunther III was left in possession of over $80 million, but that sum quickly multiplied thanks to the investments made by his trustees. The fortune grew to over $375 million and was passed on to Gunther IV, who continues to benefit from the investment savvy trustees.

Paid the Help in Advance

Majel Barret-Roddenberry, the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, is most recognized for various roles throughout the various Star Trek franchises. Barret-Roddenberry portrayed Lwaxana Troi (mother of Deanna Troi) on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. What is not commonly known is that her devotion to her dogs led to the creation of a multi-million-dollar trust for them. An additional $1 million trust was established to compensate domestic employees who cared for the daily needs of Barret-Roddenberry’s beloved pets.

Tied Wealth to Their Well-Being

Maria Assunta, the widow of a real estate investor, adopted a stray cat, which she loved dearly and which provided her with valuable companionship. Already in her early 90s, Assunta was concerned about the long-term care of her cat. Initially, Assunta tried to find a charitable organization that would provide affectionate care for the cat, but after being turned away, she decided to leave her fortune to her cat. Leaving her cat a $13 million fortune in cash and Italian real estate meant that a trustee who hoped to benefit from the windfall would have to provide care for the cat.

Planning for Your Own Pet’s Future

Pets play a large role in the lives of many, often providing much needed affection and companionship. It is only natural that after years of loyalty, a person would want to ensure that his or her pet is taken care of when he or she is no longer able to. Fortunately, an estate and trust attorney can help you establish a plan that keeps your pet safe after you are no longer able to provide the care that it needs. An estate plan can be used to designate a temporary or permanent owner and provide the funds needed to send your pet to a new home or pay for its physical care.  If you or someone close to you needs to make arrangements for the future of your pet, the attorneys at MMZ Law are here to help. Contact us at our conveniently located Claremont, California office to schedule an initial consultation today.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.