Karl Lagerfeld died on Tuesday, February 19th. The question of his estate is on everyone's mind, especially since the famous designer had suggested that his beloved cat could inherit his fortune ...
However, does French law make it possible to designate as heir a pet?
The famous designer Karl Lagerfeld died on Tuesday, February 19 at the age of 85 years.
While the world of fashion mourns this loss, Karl Lagerfeld had hinted in an interview in 2015 that the day he would name his one and only heiress as his beloved cat named Choupette.
The question then arises whether it is possible to designate his pet as his heir.
While in some foreign countries, including the United States, it is quite possible to leave his fortune to his four-legged friend, in France it is forbidden by law.
When Karl Lagerfeld opposed this French impossibility, he stated that he was not French and thus there was no problem. Indeed, Karl was of German origin and German law allows a person to bequeath an inheritance to their pet, as Gunther IV, a German shepherd, was named heir to a German countess.
However, according to the European Regulation on Estates of 2012, the law of the last domicile of the deceased applies to the governing of an estate. Thus, although Karl was of German nationality, it is French law, unless otherwise provided in the will of the deceased, which will apply.
Article 515-14 of the Civil Code states that animals are considered as property. Thus, French law does not recognize animals as natural and legal persons. Therefore, it is impossible to designate his pet as his heir because Choupette, considered by French law as an object, does not have the legal capacity to inherit wealth.
The possibility of a legacy with charge of the animal:
The animal being considered as a good, it is itself an element of the deceased's inheritance, which will have to be the subject of a ruling of succession.
However, French law offers the possibility to any legal or physical person to be a recipient of a will and the pet can be seen the subject of the will.
A will is a device for defining one or more heirs and takes effect upon the death of the person for whom the will was written. When it is dependent, it means that the beneficiary of the will must perform an obligation. This stipulqtion can be used to ensure that trusted individuals will keep the bequeathed goods in good condition.
Therefore, Karl may have planned to share Choupette's heritage indirectly by bequeathing it to an association or foundation, or more likely, to a trusted individual who will take care of him, using the money left by Karl.
Let's now hope that the new care-taker of Choupette knows how to love and spoil her as much as Karl did ...