Can I include my pets in my will?

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With over 17 million households in Britain owning at least one pet, providing for our pets after death has become an ever-growing concern for our animal-loving nation.

Carole Haestier, Solicitor in WSP’s Wills, Trusts and Probate team explores how you can include your pets in your will.

Can I leave money to my pet?

Under the law of England and Wales animals are personal property. Therefore a gift of ‘£1,000 to my dog Rover’ in your Will would fail. However, there are a number of solutions available to you if you wish to include your pet in your Will.

If you know someone who is prepared to look after your pet, you may wish to leave them a sum of money in your Will. It is important to get the wording of such a gift exactly right. You need the purpose of the gift to be clear and avoid any potential misunderstanding. You will also want the gift to be used for the intended purpose and for this reason a lot of clients also write a letter of wishes to accompany their wills. This document (although not legally binding) can be a useful guide for your friends and family as to how you would like your pets to be cared for.

If you do not know anyone who would be willing to take care of your animals, you may wish to leave a bequest to a charity so that they will take care of your pet. For example, the Cotswold Dogs & Cats Home have a “Home for Life” scheme. By including special wording in your Will, your trustees will be able to pass the care of your pets to the Cotwolds Dogs & Cats Home free of charge.

Can an animal be a beneficiary of a trust?

Another option is to set up a trust leaving money to trustees of your choice for the maintenance and wellbeing of your pet. Once your pets have died the trust would come to an end and any leftover money can go to the beneficiary of your choice.

For help with your will, you should always use a solicitor. For matters relating to your pets and indeed any aspect of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Probate you can contact our dedicated team today on 01453847200 or by filling out the form in the sidebar of this page.

Carole Haestier pets in Wills Solicitor


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