Wills and Tax Planning
Making provision for your pet in your will
We are a nation of animal lovers and almost half of UK households have at least one pet. We tend to see them as part of the family and lavish time and attention on them, spending large sums of money on their care and upkeep.
So, when it comes to planning for the future, you may have decided what you want to happen with your personal effects when you die (your engagement ring or your favourite guitar) but have you thought about what would happen to your pet?
Under UK law pets are considered to be ‘chattels’ (chăt’l - def: cars, books, pictures, furniture, jewellery, musical instruments, wines… and domestic animals). As such, pet owners should address the issue of what happens should their pet outlive them.
The best way to do this is to make a gift of your pet to somebody, or a charitable organisation, in your Will.
Your pet maintenance
You may already have the ideal recipient in mind, but have you considered whether they would be able to meet all of your pet’s needs? Maintaining a pet can be an expensive undertaking - the average annual cost is currently estimated at £1,300 for a dog and £1,100 for a cat. You may therefore want to leave your pet to a guardian, along with a sum of money intended to help their new owner finance their needs.
Alternatively, you may prefer to leave your pet to a charitable organisation. For example the RSPCA’s ‘Home For Life’ service, which last year recovered 65,000 pets whose owners had died, looking after them until finding them new homes with caring owners. If you want to leave your pet to a charity, or other organisation, a simple clause in your Will would ensure this happens.
Making provision for your pet in your Will could give you great peace of mind. Any solicitor practising in Will drafting should be able to advise you on the best approach for your circumstances.