Legacy: an enduring gift after death. It has often been the vision of humans to become immortal. Apart from science fiction, the reality is that the only way to become immortal is to leave something behind that endures--in what the philosopher Karl Popper referred to as “World 3.” These are items that are shared in the world after we are gone: articles, prose, paintings, music, inventions, buildings, policies, social transformations. For all others that have not had a chance for such Popperian creativity, there is the last will and testament to ensure that after their death, their estate is left to those that they choose.
But sometimes, people have left some weird and wonderful requests. The notoriety of these requests are perhaps more of a legacy than the distribution of the wealth itself. One such area of puzzlement has been the bequeathing of large sums of monies to dogs and cats.
Leona Helmsley the "Queen of Mean" established a $12 million trust to her Maltese dog while leaving $5 million each to her grandsons. Meanwhile Eleanor Ritchey, enriched by the Quaker Oil State Refining Corporation business, left about $14 million to her 150 stray dogs. A California prune rancher Thomas Shewbridge's left all shareholder rights of his estate to his two dogs, who regularly attended stockholders' and board of directors' meetings. The British singer Dusty Springfield left instructions stipulating that her cat was to be fed imported baby food and serenaded with Springfield's songs. Increasing the cat's romantic ambience by also arranging for the cat to marry his new guardian's pet cat. While Doris Duke heiress of the American Tobacco Company—and founding of Duke University--stated that $100 million was to be secured in a pet trust for her dogs.