I mean this in the nicest possible way, but fuck your wife and children. Cats are awesome and deserve to be left everything you have when you move on from this life. Cats are loyal, beautiful, kind, friendly, lazy, fat, fun-loving, bitchy, and completely wonderful. Anyone who doesn’t want to leave all of their worldly possessions to their cat when they die is a fucking monster.
What’s that? You prefer dogs? Fuck off.
‘But I don’t have a cat’, I hear some of you say. That’s not a problem. Hey, why don’t you use your initiative and go to your local animal shelter and adopt one. Take a picture of it, post that photo on a social media platform of your choice, caption it with a self-serving comment like ‘oh, I had to get this little one. They would have killed her otherwise. And she just spoke to me. #moderndayhero #meow #catsofinstagram.’
Come back and finish reading this section once you have a cat curled up on your lap.
OK, now that we all have a little bundle of kitty joy in our lives, let’s work out how we can leave it everything we have when we die.
Your first step is to write up your will, with your cat as the ‘beneficiary.’ Sorry, there are a few unavoidable legal terms in this section.
If you already have a will, you will have to revoke that one, which you can do by writing something like ‘I revoke my old, stupid will’ when you prepare your new cat-friendly one. Your new will does not need to be fancy, but you do need to make sure it contains a clear statement that you truly, and with full appreciation of the consequences, want to leave everything you own to your cat upon your death.
Once your new and improved will is ready, you need to sign it and get someone to witness your signature. Then, and I really, really mean this (and so does my publisher) you need to get legal advice on your will. I know, it will mean seeing a lawyer for a few minutes. Hopefully, by rocking up with your own pre-prepared will, and a clear set of instructions for your lawyer on how you want your will to work (cat: everything, family: nothing), it will be a much less painful process than if you went to see a lawyer empty handed.
Once you get your lawyer to sign off on your will, you can then rest up with your feet on the coffee table, safe in the knowledge that you have done the right thing for your little friend, Ms Kitty.
Suddenly, you have a heart attack because your heart just wasn’t strong enough to hold in all the love you have for your cat, and you find yourself dead. The problem you and your cat now have is that your family has mourned your death for all of ten minutes and is currently in the process of reading your will. They do not look happy. Not one little bit. In fact, they are calling their own lawyers and asking if your will can be challenged or cancelled because who leaves everything they own to their cat? ‘Amazing people, that’s who’ I say to your ungrateful and litigious family on your behalf.
Unless you were very careful in the way you prepared your will, and also got a cat-loving lawyer to look it over, your family may have legal grounds to challenge and cancel your will and get their grubby mitts on your stuff. You took my advice about getting a cat and leaving it everything you own, so as far as I am concerned you are careful, smart, and incredibly good looking. The law, however, does not look upon cat lovers in the same way that I do.
Our stupid law says that you can’t just leave money in your will to your cat, in the same way supposedly ‘normal’ people leave money to their wives, husbands, mistresses, charitable organisations or, occasionally, children (hi, mum and dad, love you!).
But do not despair, cat lover. Where there is a will, there is a way (law pun!).
You are legally permitted to set up what is called a ‘trust’ (fuck, more legal terms sorry!), and have the ‘executor’ (stop it!) of your will put all your money and assets into that trust. You can then, through careful wording in your will, direct the person who you appoint to control the trust (called, crazily, the ‘trustee’) to spend that trust money in a particular way. Like tending to your cat’s every want and needs, of which it will have many. Greed is one of cats’ finer qualities.
You have to make sure, though, that the trustee you select is smart, also loves cats, and is prepared to honour your final wishes; whether those wishes be to apply your assets carefully for the long-term care and benefit of your cat, or whether they be to blow all your money in one hit on a golden litter box and diamond-dust kitty litter. So choose this person carefully. I’d love to do it, but I’m so busy, you know. Sorry.
Your cat is now properly taken care of, but we still have your pissed off family to deal with. To avoid any ongoing resentment between family members, and to stop them from challenging your will and creating all sorts of stress for your cat, my recommendation (not legal advice!) is to bring a cat into your life and then immediately resolve your family issues in the following order:
1. Leave everything to your cat through the cool trust structure I mentioned above.
2. Make sure the trustee you name in your will loves cats and is happy to run the trust you set up for the sole purpose of providing for your pussy.
3. Kill your cat-hating family.
4. Die happy.
This approach gives the best possible outcome for your cat, and the world will be a better place. You will be dead, and your family murdered, but that is a small price to pay for your cat’s enduring happiness.