A will is there to ensure that your loved ones are looked after in the event of your passing, and that includes your furry friends.
It’s estimated that half of all UK adults own a pet. That statistic serves to cement our status as a nation of animal lovers. From cats and dogs to rabbits, birds and hamsters, millions of us are in agreement that a house is not a home without a furry, feathered or maybe even scaled friend.
However, owning a pet means you’ll need to consider what will happen to your fur baby if the unspeakable happens. No one wants to dwell on morbid subjects like death, but putting together a will now can ensure that your animal companion is protected no matter what the future has in store.
With that in mind, here are some of the questions you’ll need to consider when arranging your assets.
Who will look after your pets?
This is one of the first and arguably most important decisions you’ll have to make regarding your pet’s futures. The simplest option is to leave your pet as a gift to a loved one. But, of course, you’ll have to make sure they are willing to accept the responsibility of your animal. Often, people are willing to agree to taking on an animal in theory but may get cold feet when the time actually comes. Therefore, it’s a good idea to seek out an alternative option just in case.
There is also the option of leaving your pet under the care of a charity. The RSPCA, for example, offers a Home for Life service through which they are left a pet in a will and take on the role of finding them a suitable home.
Will you be leaving them money?
Looking after a pet is expensive. If you’re leaving your beloved animals in the care of someone else, you may want to leave financial provision for them. Of course, it’s impossible to leave money directly to your pet, so the simplest solution is to leave the sum of money directly to the beneficiary who is receiving the animal.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can either leave the whole amount of money to the new owner as a single lump sum or set up a discretionary trust to drip feed funds. This latter option means you don’t have to worry about the new owner spending the money on themselves.
What if circumstances change?
When deciding what happens to your animals when you’re gone, you’ll need to make sure the arrangements are as flexible as they are clear. For example, you may find a new owner who would be willing to take on Bruno the dog, but if Bruno passes before you and is replaced by Rufus the dog, are the new owners still happy to take him on? These are the kinds of conversations you’ll need to have when smoothing out the details of your will.
Will writing support is available
To ensure that your pets are cared for in the event of your death, you can seek out will writing support with guidance on how to make sure your agreement is clear and ironclad.
Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts at Winn Solicitors, Rebecca Harbron Gray, describes the importance of seeking out support for your will writing, saying:
“Many people avoid writing a will and making plans for death for many years because they think it is a morbid or depressing process. But the truth is often that, once complete, people get a sense of comfort and relief from knowing that they have done all they can to protect and care for their nearest and dearest – and that includes their animal companions.
“At Winn Solicitors our team has decades of experience in this specialist field of law and we know how to make it simple and stress-free – no matter how complex your estate or family situation.”
With a dedicated team of legal specialists in settling affairs, Winn Solicitors can help you create a will that offers complete peace of mind and security for your family, friends and pets, no matter what the future holds.
If you’re looking for expert solicitors for wills, get in touch with Winn Solicitors today.
Protecting pets after you die is a feature post