Consideration of Pets in your Will
We are a nation of pet lovers with approximately 12 million households having pets with 51 million pets owned. They are part of the family and very important to us, so it seems right we should give them some consideration when it comes to preparing our Wills. So what can be done to look after them after we are gone?
Pets are considered personal chattels, and can therefore be left to a beneficiary in your Will. You can either name the pet that you have or make it apply to any pet that is alive when you die.
You should consider who you want to look after your pet. It can be left to a particular person or to an animal charity. Pets cost money and you should consider whether you wish to leave a sum of money to the beneficiary in order to be able to provide for your pet. The sum of money can be made conditional in that the beneficiary will only receive it if they undertake to look after the animal.
It would be wise to consider putting in a substitute beneficiary also to ensure there is someone able to take on the responsibility. The life span of your pet and the age of the beneficiary should be considered also.
If you did not wish to name a specific beneficiary you could leave the pet to your Executors along with a Letter of Wishes detailing how you would wish the animal to be dealt with. This leaves more options open to the Executors at the time of your death.
Alternatively the animal could be left to an animal welfare charity with a request that the charity find a suitable home.
The pet could also be included in a Discretionary Trust with the residuary estate again with a Letter of Wishes. This would give the Trustees flexibility to decide who should look after the pet.
We can talk you through all of the above options and your initial Will appointment.
If you concerned about these issues, Heppenstalls can help you explore the issues in a friendly and informal way. If you would like to make an appointment, or to talk to our team about this article, please contact us on 01425 610078 or 01590 689500.