Paws For Thought: Who Will Care For My Pet?
24 June 2019 by Amy Burton
The UK is a nation of pet lovers and many people get overly concerned with what will happen to their beloved four-legged friends when they die. Here we will look at a couple of the options available to you, which will allow you to honour your ulti-mutt friendship.
We often get asked if it is paw-ssible to leave a gift of money to pets within Wills. Whilst it isn’t necessarily as straight forward as this (the bank clerk might look twice at Chappy, the golden retriever, who is trying to make a de-paws-it to a bank account) there are certainly ways in which you can provide for their wellbeing and to make sure that they will always have a ‘woof’ over their head.
You could consider leaving a set sum of money (known as pecuniary legacy) to a particular individual, in return for them rehoming and caring for your pet. However it is important to note that you cannot legally oblige anyone to perform an act in return for a pecuniary legacy; they would be free to take the cash and leave your pet at the local animal shelter. Of course, in most circumstances, you know you can trust a friend or family member to honour your wishes, but it is always best to be pawtious.
Another option would be to put part of your estate into a trust, which would give your trustees the ability to carry out any wishes you had expressed – e.g. the care and maintenance of your pet. You hear all sorts of tall tails (sorry, we just can’t help it) about trusts and their complexities and whilst some are unfounded, you do need to think about the disadvantages of such an option. You are placing a huge obligation on your trustees, they would need to consider taking financial advice in relation to the funds available and there might also be annual fleas (oops…fees) incurred in respect of the trust operation.
Many of our clients stipulate that their executors are to contact charities such as The Dogs Trust, the Blue Cross or the RSPCA to establish the pawfect course of action when it comes to rehoming your pet. The Dogs Trust, for example, pledge that they will never put down a healthy dog and sometimes this can be all the reassurance that you need.
This is one of the reasons that we often incorporate gifts to charities within Wills. You might find it reassuring to know that if you were to pass away, you would be financially helping the charity that you were relying to find a new loving home for your loved one, allowing them to emBARK on the next chapter of their lives.
But don’t terrier yourself up about it; no matter what your individual circumstances are, we will discuss your concerns with you when we see you to discuss your Will. Please don’t think that it is a ‘silly’ question, if it is an important matter to you than rest assured, it will be an important matter for us. Contact our Wills, Life Planning & Probate team on 01206 700113 or email [email protected]