Your WILL and your Pet
- Ensuring the safety of your pets after you have gone.
Do not leave a gift directly to your pet in your Will
You have to be very careful with the wording of your will because an incorrectly written provision may fail. For example, a cash gift to your pet dog, cat or donkey will fail, not only because they would not be able to open their own bank account, but also because animals cannot own cash or give a legal receipt to your executors.
Leaving your pet to a family member or a friend
Most people would not mind looking after someone’s pet for a week while they are away on holiday. However, taking on that responsibility permanently is another matter and not everyone would be willing to do so (especially if your pet is a giant tortoise who can live for more than two centuries). It is wise to discuss your plans with the person you have chosen and confirm they are happy to take on the responsibility.
Do not forget the costs involved in looking after your pet
This is especially important if your pet is used to a luxurious lifestyle and you wish for it to remain that way after your death. The courts have held that a gift in a Will to someone providing for your pet’s maintenance is a valid gift. The most common way would be to leave a legacy of your beloved pet and a cash sum to a named beneficiary. This, however, does not guarantee that the named beneficiary would definitely accept the responsibility of looking after your pet or that they would spend the gift on your pet unless specifically stated to be conditional.
This helps avoid a situation of your chosen person not being able to take on the responsibility simply due to lack of funds.
You can also have a Trust fund for your pet within your Will ring fencing a specified sum that is to be used purely for your pets benefit. The Trustees who are appointed could be the same or different people than those looking after your pet to ensure that the monies are used solely for your pets benefit and to keep them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed to!
Have a backup
What if the person you nominated is unable or unwilling to look after your pet? It is wise to have a reserve, or perhaps an animal charity that run free rehoming schemes that would provide for your pet when you are gone such as RSPCA’s Home for Life, the Cinnamon Trust and The Dogs Trust Canine Care Card are just some examples.
We can help you to ensure that your wishes for the care of your cherished pet are put in place giving you the reassurance that if you aren’t here your pets will be looked after and financially provided for.