Do you have pets? Have you ever wondered what happens to your pets once you pass? Pets are unofficially part of the family; we love and care for them. Like all your loved ones, you want to think about how to help them, even when you are gone. The most popular pets in the United Kingdom are dogs and cats. Cats can live anywhere between 12 – 18 years while dogs live between 10 – 13 years and according to the Scottish Pet Industry Awards, 45% of adults in Scotland own a pet. This means that the idea of considering your pet in your will is more of a consideration than you might initially think.
If you have had a pet and lost them, you must understand how difficult it can be. Your pets can mean so much to you. They can offer company, can calm you down after a stressful day and can sometimes just be a comfort. Pets rely on you too for small things to big things, such as food, shelter
Why is this important now?
According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, a total of 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic.
This means that since lockdown in the United Kingdom, a staggering amount of people have gained pets during the two-year-long pandemic and more people will be thinking about putting pets in their will. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns were very different experiences for people, however throughout the three lockdowns, there was a massive increase in people deciding to get pets.
The question is what happens after? How can you provide for your pets in your will? Well, your options come down to either arranging a person to look after your pet or leaving money for the pet’s care.
Arranging for someone to look after your pet
When considering your pets in your will, you can specify in your will who you want to take on responsibility for your pet’s care. This person cannot be forced into taking over responsibility for your pet’s care. For this, it is advised that you have a conversation about this to make sure that the person you are handing your pet over to is willing to take them in.
Leaving money for your pets to be cared for
You can also leave money for the pets in your will with the newly appointed owner to inherit to help with the costs of raising pets. Pets by definition are an asset or a belonging, so you cannot leave money or property for the pets to inherit, as you can’t give an asset an asset. Things like money and/or property in your will have to be to legal individuals or human individuals. An example of legal individuals would be things such as charities or companies. Since, by law, a pet is an asset, you can leave money to the human individual(s) a sum of money to be used for the care of your pet.
Another question to think about is what about owners who might not be able to find anyone to look after their pet or comfortable asking to look after their pet?
In this case, there is the option of putting the pets into an animal charity. Many animal charities can and will provide a new home for pets after their owners pass.
At MM Legal we strive to be supportive and helpful to all clients. For more information on how to help with what happens to your pets after you pass and how to help with putting pets in your will, get in contact with one of our team members.