The great British public, long heralded as a nation of animal lovers, will frequently pamper their pooches and care for their cats in a variety of ways that may seem extravagant to some. With 49% of UK adults owning a pet and so many pets being a much-adored member of the family, it makes practical sense to think about your pet’s needs in the future, as there is always the chance they will still be around after you are gone. It’s therefore important to understand how to look after your pet in your Will.
Contrary to some well-established myths about eccentric millionaires, you are not able to leave your wealth to an animal in a Will, as inheritance can only be bequeathed to a human beneficiary. You can however arrange to nominate another person to care for your pet or alternatively if there is no one suitable, you could arrange for your furry friend to be rehomed by a charity.
If you wanted to put arrangements in place for your pet’s care and welfare, your Will can go some way to making provision for the rest of your pet’s life. Usually people will leave their pet to a particular person or charity, together with a sum of money which is specified to be used for the purpose of looking after their companion. Some people will take the time to write a letter of wishes providing details of which brand of food their pet should have, how often they should be walked or rested and how regularly they should have a health check by a vet etc.
You will need to have the full co-operation of whoever you choose to be your pet’s guardian and we would also recommend having a secondary guardian, just in case the first guardian isn’t able to look after your animal or is temporarily unavailable when the time comes, which may be a number of years.
If you already have a Will, you can appoint a guardian by adding a codicil to your Will which is a way to insert additional wishes to the document.
Taking steps to plan for future scenarios is a very sensitive and personal experience, but thinking of the practicalities in advance and putting the arrangements in place will be helpful in easing your anxiety and give you comfort that your beloved pet will be cared for in the way they were accustomed too.