It is estimated that 69% of households in the UK have a pet
It is surprising therefore, how few people not only forget to prepare a will entirely, but of those that do many pet owners either forget to make provision for their pets or don’t know that they should include their pet in their will.
When beginning to look at your estate and writing a will, questions may arise concerning the care of your pets. What if you have a beloved furry friend? What will happen to them when you die?
If a person dies whilst sharing a home with family, the ownership can automatically pass to those they were sharing a home with. If a person lives alone then a plan for the pet will need to be carefully considered after you die.
How to make plans for your pet after you are gone
You can leave written instructions or even rely on speaking to friends or family what you want to happen to the pet. However, you can also leave more specific instructions within your will. It’s important to remember to discuss this with the person you have named, to ensure they are happy to become the new caregivers for your pet. However, it may also be a good idea to provide the name of substitute caregiver or charity that should be contacted in the event that your first choice caregiver is not able to accept the responsibility of your pet at the time of your death.
Naming a permanent caregiver for your pet
This also provides the opportunity for you to leave a specific gift of money to the new owners of your pet: this can be a means of thanking them for taking on the responsibility of your much loved pet, but also as a contribution to the new additional cost that person will face as a result.
The law considers pets property not family
It is important to remember that in the eyes of the law: pets are considered property, even though they do feel just like family. Therefore, you cannot leave an inheritance or a specific gift to them directly. It is possible instead, to leave a letter of wishes which provides guidance to the new owner of your pet. This can include information on their daily care and routine as well as more specific information about their health and needs. The level of detail included here can be key to ensuring a smooth transition for your pet and their new owners, in the event of your death.
If you are considering including your much loved pet in your will, or don’t currently have a will, seek legal advice from a wills and probate solicitor who can guide you through the process. Contact Sinclair Law Solicitors today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and learn more about your options for making provision for your pet.