Billionaire leaves fortune to animals

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One of Norway’s wealthiest real estate moguls, Dag S Stiansen, has set up a foundation for animal welfare that will inherit his entire fortune when he and wife die. He told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that animals have some better qualities and abilities than people do.

“If you’re kind to animals and treat them with respect, you get back a lot of loyalty and love,” Stiansen told DN. “Not all people have that ability. None of the attempts to cheat me have involved animals.”

Stiansen, age 67, is the adopted son of one of Norway’s biggest real estate developers in the post-war era, Nils Stiansen, and he inherited the elder Stiansen’s fortune in addition to developing his own projects as well. Stiansen’s fortune is currently estimated at around NOK 1.8 billion (USD 327 million).

He and his wife Trine Hillmann Stiansen, age 46, have two daughters from previous relationships but they will only stand to receive Norway’s so-called pliktarv (obligatory inheritance) of NOK 1 million each (USD 181,000 at current exchange rates). The rest of Stiansen’s fortune will go to the Dag S Stiansen Stifelse, which will look after animals’ interests and award an annual prize to an animal welfare champion. Stiansen told DN he has wanted to set up the foundation since the 1980s and will retain control it until his death. His wife will then assume control and the foundation won’t get the bulk of their estate until both are deceased.

Stiansen’s lawyer has take steps to ensure that Stiansen’s will won’t be challenged, with Stiansen undergoing testing by well-known Norwegian psychiatrists who have established that he is of sound mind.

newsinenglish.no staff