It probably would have been simpler just to leave his alleged $300 million estate to Choupette, his blue-cream tortie Birman cat. And immediately upon Karl Lagerfeld’s death from prostate cancer on February 19, 2019, that was his fortune’s rumored fate. But the eccentric designer also had a circle of humans he wanted to do right by. This is where things get complicated.

The Absent Accountant

In December, Lagerfeld’s bodyguard/driver/shopping-bag carrier/right-hand man Sébastien Jondeau gave an interview to Paris Match explaining that Lagerfeld’s estate was a disaster, legally speaking. He wasn’t wrong. The French tax police had already been sniffing around the Chanel and Fendi designer’s income, suspecting him of having funneled his design fees, and payments from photo clients such as DIM and Printemps, through the U.S., Ireland, and the British Virgin Islands. (In 2016, it was alleged that the estimated evasion may have topped $22 million.) And his will was executed in Monaco, a country whose entire raison d’être is to serve as a French tax haven.