When writing a will, people often consider their property, money, family members and investments. But what happens to your pets? Pets are often considered a part of the family and are considered personal possessions in the eyes of the law.
There are a few things to consider regarding your pets and your will. Firstly, you should consider who you would like to take over their welfare when you pass away. If you would like to give this responsibility to a specific person, you can leave your pet to that person as a gift in your will. Pets are considered ‘property’ in England and Wales, therefore you can gift them to a beneficiary in your will.
Following this, you can also provide for a substitute beneficiary in your will. This means that if the person you intended your pet to go to is unwilling or unable to look after your pet then the substitute beneficiary will take over this responsibility. Another alternative is to leave your pet to an animal charity such as the RSPCA.
Worried about the beneficiary paying for the care of your pet? You can choose to leave the chosen beneficiary a cash gift to cover the cost of caring for your pet. The cash gift can be used as maintenance to pay for food, vet bills and insurance etc. However, your solicitor will be careful to word this clause to ensure that the beneficiary only receives the cash gift on the basis that they agree to look after your pet.
There are several important considerations that your solicitor will discuss with you regarding your pet, for example you must ensure that you speak with the intended beneficiary before putting them in your will to ensure that they agree to look after your pet and that it doesn’t come as a surprise. Another discussion your solicitor will have with you are future pets which should also be accounted for in your will.
If you would like to make a will that protects all your loved ones including the furry kind, please contact us on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.