Couple plans to leave everything to their pet monkey

Sarah Coles

Brajesh and Shabista Srivastava, from Uttar Pradesh in India, say that when they die, they will leave all their money to their pet monkey, Chunmun. They adopted the long-tailed macaque after it was orphaned, and say their pet is responsible for their wealth and success.

The BBC reported that the couple were struggling financially, but in 2005, after they adopted Chunmun, everything changed. They are now wealthy enough to be able to treat their pet to a pampered, air-conditioned life. They have even bought him a mate and in 2010 held a lavish wedding ceremony for him.

The Metro reported that the childless couple were ostracised by their families when they married - because Mr Srivastava is Hindu and his wife is Muslim. They were lonely before they adopted Chunmun, but now they have come me to think of the monkey as a son. They were concerned that he shouldn't suffer after they died, so will leave their money and property to ensuring a comfortable future for him.
Left it all to pets

It's certainly an eccentric choice, but this isn't the first couple to leave everything to a pet.

Gunther IV, the German Shepherd, is thought to be the world's richest pet. It was actually his father Gunther III that inherited $373 million from his owner, Countess Karlotta Liebenstein in 1991, and after he died, the fortune passed to his son. Bizarrely, the trustees of the fortune have invested it wisely, so it has actually tripled in value over the years. Among the investments was the purchase of a Miami mansion once owned by Madonna.

The richest cat in the world, meanwhile, is Tommaso, a four-year old former stray from Rome, who was left a property empire worth €10m when his 94-year-old owner died in 2011. She had planned to leave the money to a charity, on the understanding they would look after her cat. However, she ended up leaving it to a woman she met in the park, who nursed her in her final days. She was entrusted with the fortune and the cat, and retired to a house outside Rome.

Favouring a pet isn't always welcomed. When hotel heiress Leona Helmsley died in 2007, she left a large chunk of her money to her dog, Trouble. At the same time she cut two grandchildren out of her will. The unpopular will sparked a court battle, and eventually the dog's inheritance was reduced from $12 million to $2 million. He was then entrusted to the general manager of one of the family hotels, who spent a reported $1,200 a year on food and $100,000 on security for the dog. After his death in 2011, the money reverted to a charitable trust.

Even the rich and famous will sometimes include a pet in their will. Alexander McQueen left £50,000 of his £16 million fortune to his dogs. And Dusty Springfield left cash that was specifically intended to be spent on caring for her pet cat. She insisted it be fed baby food, live in a 7 foot indoor tree house, and be serenaded to sleep every night with his owner's pop hits.

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