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Providing for pets in a will

Providing for pets in a will

People with pets count them as part of the family. It makes sense to think about who you want to care for them following your death and provide for them in your will.

There are a range of options available to ensure that your pets are looked after when you die. If you have a friend or relative who is willing and able to look after your pet, this is usually a good place to start. It is worth bearing in mind that the care of a pet is not for everyone; taking on the ownership of a pet comes with the responsibility of providing for their health and well-being as well as the necessity to fund any vet care and maintenance. This responsibility can be a substantial commitment and financial burden to place upon a person so it is worth checking with your friends or relatives whether they would be willing, and able, to take it on in the event of your death.

It may be appropriate to bequeath a sum of money which can be used to assist with the care and maintenance of your pet. An animal cannot own property, so it is not possible to leave a sum of money to the pet itself. Instead, a human must take ownership of the pet along with any funds you may choose to leave to fund its care and lifestyle. As with other specific bequests of cash, this can be conditional; for example upon agreeing to look after the pet for its natural life.

Alternatively, charities such as the JSPCA are able and willing to care for pets who’s owner has died.

When considering how to provide for your pet in your will, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who would be willing and able to look after my pet?
  2. What if this person is not able to look after my pet at the time of my death?
  3. What kind of resources may be required to care for and maintain my pet?
  4. Should provision be made for a particular pet, or be kept open for any pets that may be alive at the time of my death?
  5. What should happen to the bequest if I have no longer have a pet at the time of my death?

If you would like further information in relation to providing for your pet in your will, contact our personal law team on 888666.

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