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Estate Planning Lessons from a Grumpy Cat

Have you seen this face before?

You have probably seen her furry mug somewhere. On a coffee mug or on the internet, the feline known as Grumpy Cat has been seen millions of times—and has some money to show for it; which is why her grumpiness can teach us important lessons about Estate Planning upon receiving a windfall .

Grumpy Cat was not always filled with interviews, media appearances, and lucrative sponsorship deals. The owner of Grumpy Cat is Tabatha Bundeson , who reports Grumpy Cat is a stage name. The real name of her cat is Tardar Sauce.

Tardar Sauce is a domestic calico who became an internet sensation when her photograph went viral. Ms. Sauce suffers a form of feline dwarfism that resulted in a flat face, bubble eyes, and slightly short legs and tail. Since she was discovered, Ms. Sauce can boast of the following achievements:

  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • A movie and merchandising line
  • Co-author of advice books
  • Star of Facebook and YouTube
  • Retains her own manager
  • The changed fortunes of Ms. Sauce have allowed her owner, Ms. Bundeson to quit her job as a waitress. Late last year, the internet was alight with claims that Ms. Sauce had earned approximately $100 million for her owner. While Ms. Bundeson denies that amount is accurate, it is clear Ms. Sauce pulls down some significant kibble.

    For Ms. Sauce and Ms. Bundeson, these are very good days. For others who experience a sudden windfall, like an inheritance or gaming win (Mega Millions anyone?), protecting those monies is important because:

  • People with little money are rarely sued, while well-known individuals (or, arguably, cats) with a lot of money make better targets
  • Sudden wealth that is not properly protected can be subject to divorce or other legal claims
  • Your status as a partner in an enterprise may leave you vulnerable to legal action
  • If you come into money, give thought to its preservation before you start to purchase. You can protect proceeds—or the earnings of your unusual pet—through a well-constructed trust that can handle licensing rights and other profitable opportunities.

    While Ms. Sauce is an unusual case, the use of trusts to protect estate wealth is commonplace. If you come into sudden money, or want to know how best to protect your wealth for yourself and future generations, give us a call