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Frequently Asked Questions

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InHouse Wills & Probate

Award-winning Will writer

Taking Care of Pets


How should I take care of my pets when I make a Will?

(let our experience help you decide what to do)

Taking Care of Pets

For many of us our pets are particularly important, providing loving companionship at a stage of our life when family have fledged the nest. Our concern is then how to provide for our domestic animals should we pass away before they do.

From time to time we read in the newspapers the stories of pets being left large amounts of money in a Will. These stories make great headlines, but the reality is often not so dramatic and certainly those who have left such Wills have probably been poorly advised.

When dealing with pets (be that cats, dogs, horses or any other domestic animals) we have to think in a very practical way. It is important to recognise that these animals may well need to be cared for BEFORE we pass away - such as if we are suddenly taken to hospital. Therefore we need to have arrangements for their care in place today.

Furthermore, even if we are not hospitalised but simply pass away at home, a pet cannot wait for weeks or months whilst a Will is sorted out - they need somewhere to stay and someone to feed them straightaway.

Therefore our priority must be to have in place a plan for their care, one that does not rely on the Will. Typically that will be a good friend or neighbour - someone who knows the foibles of the animals in question and who can love the animal as you do

Of course taking on an animal long term can be a significant financial undertaking, one which your friend or neighbour might struggle to make. Therefore, if appropriate, you can consider leaving a small legacy to the person in order to provide for the animal’s care. However, you should also recognise that it is very hard to predict how long (or short) an animal might survive you by. Hence the size of the legacy needs to be considered carefully.

We would advise NOT doing something like leaving your house to be the home for the animal, nor leaving tens of thousands of pounds for their care - the practical problems involved can be immense. Rather, concentrate on identifying the right person to care for the animal and then, if appropriate, leave that person a small legacy towards any costs and also as a thank-you for them being prepared to take on the responsibility.

Pets in Wills

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