By Caroline Foulger
If a dog is a man’s best friend then making sure that they (or any other pet) are provided for if something happens to you will be a priority for all animal lovers.
The good news is that you can make provision in your Will for what will happen to your pet when you die. However, it is not possible to make a gift to your pet, so it is important to take advice so that a correctly drafted clause can be included in your Will to name someone you would like to take care of them.
The first consideration is who you would like to look after your pet. Once you have decided this, it is sensible to discuss with that person whether he or she would be happy to take on this responsibility.
Another consideration is funding the care of your pet for the rest of their life including food, pet insurance and future veterinary and boarding costs. It is possible to make a gift to whomever you have requested to look after your pet, to cover the costs of their future care. This gift can be conditional on that person taking over responsibility for your pet. However, professional advice should be sought to ensure that the correct wording and clauses are used.
Additionally, you should consider providing in your Will not only for your current pet but also any pets you may have at the time of your death. It is also possible to name a substitute beneficiary to care for your pet in the event that your first choice is unable to do so, or dies before you.
If you cannot think of anyone who could look after your pet, there are many animal charities that run free schemes to rehome and provide for them. If this is something you are considering, we can work with you and your chosen charity to incorporate the right clause into your Will to reflect your wishes. Some charities also have schemes that you join independently of preparing your Will, in relation to the future care of your pet.
Providing for your pet(s) in your Will is the best way to ensure that they will be looked after when you die. However, consideration should also be given to what will happen to your pet if you become unwell or lose mental capacity. Preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney for your property and financial affairs is essential for this, as it allows you to give authority to your attorney to manage your affairs and finances. This means that making provision for your pet and tasks such as paying for vets’ bills or for temporary care can be dealt with by your attorney.
We will be pleased to advise and assist with any aspect of matters mentioned above.
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