Cat and dog
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A woman in China has decided to leave her $2.8 million (£2.2 million) fortune to her cats and dogs and leave her children out of the will, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

The woman, identified by her surname Liu, decided to cut off her children from the will because they did not look after her when she fell sick, while the pets kept her company.

The will also appoints a local veterinary clinic as the administrator of the inheritance. However, laws in China do not permit direct bequests to animals.

According to a representative of the China Will Registration Centre's eastern China branch, she can always change the will if she ever reconciles with her children. The Representative said that "there are alternatives to solve 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," The Independent quoted him as saying.

The woman's decision has sparked a debate on social media platforms in China, with most of them supporting her move to leave her children out of the will.

This is not the first time that a human has decided to leave their fortune to their pets; several such cases have been reported from across the world. A US woman left a $100,000 (£66,000) trust fund for her 32 pet cockatiels. Leslie Ann Mandel, a direct mail entrepreneur, died in June 2015 and left a $5.3 million fortune.

Mandel, who was married to sci-fi author Arthur Herzog, named her stepson, Matthew Herzog, as trustee of the fund.

She listed each of the birds by name in her legal papers and provided instructions for cleaning and feeding them. "It is my wish that the birds be fed and the building cleaned each Monday and Thursday, and their food shall be purchased from Avi-Cakes, carrots, water and popcorn," she stated in the will.

In 2007, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog, Trouble. A judge later reduced the bequest to $2 million.

In 2011, Maria Assunta left $13 million (£8.2 million) to her rescue cat Tommaso, which she took in after finding it on the streets of Rome. Assunta did not have any children so she left the money to her cat via her nurse Stefania, who said: "I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around. She wanted to be sure that Tommaso would be loved and cuddled."

American heiress Ella Wendel died in 1931 and left an estimated $15 million (then £3.3 million) of her family's estate to her poodle Toby. The rest of her wealth was left to churches and charities.

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who passed away in 2010, bequeathed £50,000 to his dogs, which was put in a trust to pay for their upkeep for the rest of their lives. He also gave £100,000 each to animal charities Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the Blue Cross.

Actor, author, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey has already put aside $30 million (£18.9 million) in a trust fund for her pet dogs when she dies. Hollywood actress Drew Barrymore placed her Beverly Hills home in trust for her Labrador mix, Flossie.

She also made a new dog house for her pooch as a gesture of appreciation after the dog saved her life and that of her then-husband, Tom Green, by banging on their bedroom door when their house was on fire.

According to Guinness World Records, German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein left her multi-million-dollar fortune to her dog, Gunther IV, a German Shepherd. Netflix even has a documentary on the dog titled Gunther's Millions.

"German shepherd 'Gunther' was left $65 million (£40 million) by his owner, German Countess Carlotta Liebenstein, and became, probably, the richest dog in the world in the 1990s," read the Guinness Book profile on Gunther. He lives in Tuscany, Italy, and is driven around in a convertible BMW.