Can I leave my pet in my Will?
Whether it is dogs, cats or horses, snakes, tortoises or rabbits, the UK is definitely a nation of pet lovers. However, we often forget to think about what would happen to our pets after we die, and who would look after them.
Many people are not aware that it is possible to leave your pet under the terms of your Will, however, naming in your Will who you would want to take care of your pet after you die can give you great peace of mind. You also have the option to leave a cash legacy to your pet’s new owner, in order to pay towards their care. It is important however, to note that if you leave a pet to someone in your Will, with or without any financial provisions, they are not legally obliged to take care of them after your death. It is therefore always a good idea to talk to the person you intend to leave your pet to in order to make sure they would be happy to take it on. This allows your pet’s new owner to consider carefully beforehand whether they will be able to deal with it both practically and financially.
Whilst your Will can help provide for your pet after you are gone, you may also want to consider what would happen in the event that you became unwell or lost mental capacity and were no longer able to handle your affairs. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can help deal with this potential problem, as it allows you to grant financial and legal power over your affairs to an individual or individuals of your choosing (your ‘attorneys’). Without an LPA everyday tasks such as paying a vet’s bill can become virtually impossible. Therefore, having an LPA in place means that if you were to suddenly lose capacity your designated attorney would be able to make provisions for your pet, such as paying for temporary care or settling a vet’s bill.
Ann-Marie Matthews is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Suffolk.