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Who will care for your pet when you die?

As a country of animal lovers a significant fear for pet owners is who will care for their cherished pet after their death.

There are a number of options which pet owners may wish to consider:

1.  Leave the pet, together with a legacy, to someone that the owner trusts on condition that they care for the pet.  However there is no guarantee that the person selected will care for the pet, they may have the pet put down and enjoy the legacy himself or herself.

2.  Leave a legacy to the executors of the Will with a direction that an amount should be paid to someone as long as they care for the pet.  In this scenario the executors will have an ongoing obligation to check that the pet is being looked after which may over time become onerous.

3. Include a clause directing the executors to find a suitable home for the animal.  Whilst this may initially be onerous, once the home is found the executors are released from their obligation.

4.  Leave the pet and a sum of money to a recognised animal charity, for e.g. the RSPCA with a request that they find a suitable home for the pet. The advantage of this type of clause is that the welfare of the animal is the charity’s priority.  The RSPCA has stated that they will rarely be unable to place an animal. A further advantage is that, providing the gift is not conditional, the money will not attract inheritance tax.

Make sure your pet is not forgotten about.

By Ann Donnelly

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