A new study has said that British pet owners plan to bequeath an enormous £26 billion to their furry friends and most will do so without telling their family or friends.
This week it emerged that fashion designer Alexander McQueen left £50,000 in his will for the care of his pet dogs and it seems many other people have also set aside generous legacies.
A survey of 14,181 pet owners by More Than Pet Insurance discovered that 27 percent have already included their pet in their wills or intend to do so.
Of those people, 35 percent plan to leave their pets more than £10,000 in their wills, with some 37 percent admitting they intend to leave more to their companion animal than to a close relative or family friend.
Around 21 percent plan to leave their pets the family home.
"Pet owners are naturally concerned about the long term care of their pets and many are taking the necessary steps to make sure they are provided for in their wills," company chief John Ellenger said.
Half of pet owners who included pets in their wills said they did so because they did not want their pet to end up in a rescue centre.
When considering their pet's future, 70 percent of owners made arrangements with family, friends and neighbours, while 19 percent intend to make provision in their will for a full time pet sitter, More Than's survey found.
Sentimental items that pets are in line to inherit include a pet's favourite sofa or armchair, photos of the pet and owner together, an item of clothing or a pair of shoes, jewellery and even the owner's ashes, the company said.
More Than based its estimate of £26 billion total inheritance value on a calculation that 27 per cent of the UK?s 27 million pets, or 7.29 million animals, can expect to receive an inheritance and, of those, 35 percent or 2.55 million pets, can expect to receive at least £10,000.
Alexander McQueen allocated large sums in his will to family members, his housekeepers and his favourite charities, but he also left £50,000 to ensure his dogs were pampered after he was gone.
The will, seen by AFP, said £50,000 was being left "for the upkeep and maintenance of my dog or dogs so long as my dog or dogs shall live."
He left behind three dogs called Minter, Juice and Callum, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
McQueen wrote a suicide note asking his family to "look after my dogs" before he hanged himself in his central London flat on February 11 after taking a cocktail of drugs the day before his mother's funeral.
The designer -- full name Lee Alexander McQueen -- left a total of £16,036,500 on his death.