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Including Pets in Your Will

28 May 2018
pets in will

Pets are important family members to many people in the UK. Throughout your lives, you may have many different pets. When you make a Will, it is important to consider what happens to your pets in the event of your death.

Appointing a guardian for your Pet

Like a child, you may appoint a guardian to take care of your pets. Make sure that you choose wisely when deciding who you want to be the carer of your pets and if possible nominate a backup just in case the original person decides they don't want the responsibility later down the line.

We would recommend that you pick someone who has a relationship or at least is familiar with the pet. It is important to remember that if you have a pet with a long lifespan such as a parrot, it can be a more significant burden on the guardian than if you were leaving behind an animal with a shorter life span such as a hamster.

Other factors you may want to consider is:

  • Can the guardian meet the needs of the pet (if the pet is a dog it would need to be walked)?
  • How old is the pet?
  • How old is the guardian?
  • Does the pet require any particular medication or treatment?

Can you leave your pets money (gifts for your pets)?

"Woman leaves her entire £1 million estate to her cats" The headline is eye-catching, but not technically correct, as it is not possible to leave money directly to an animal. People can, however, leave cash as a gift to the guardian with the instructions that it is to be used for the care of the pet. If you appoint a guardian for your pet, you may need to consider the cost of them for items such as:

  • Food
  • Medical Bills
  • Insurance

Another way to indirectly give your pets cash is to set up a trust and allow the trustees to decide how the money is spent. Providing for your pets when you have gone can be a simple process, however, when creating your own will it is easy to make mistakes when including a pet. We will ensure that we run through your options, so you know exactly what will happen to them in the event of your death.

I don’t have anyone to look after my pets

If you don't have anyone to look after your pets, there are a few pet charity schemes available which include:

  • RSPCA Home For Life
  • The Cinnamon Trust
  • The Dogs Trust Canine Care Card

These schemes will look after your pets in the events of you passing and will provide the information needed to include in your will to make sure your pets get the future you want.

When to review your Will

It is essential to review your will regularly, and in the event, you are including provision for a pet, in the following circumstances:

  • The pet passes away
  • You get a new pet
  • You fall out with the purposed guardian
  • Something has changed with the guardian’s ability to look after the pet