Responsibility for pets after we’re gone

Legal Posted 11/11/20
Who will take care of my animals when I am no longer able to do so? asks Amy Turner-Ives, Trainee Legal Executive at Whitehead Monckton.

When making a Will, people often consider who they wish to leave their financial assets to but forget about their much-loved companions, often assuming that care of pets may be taken on by surviving family members. Taking on responsibility for an animal is a big task, and it is not something that everyone can undertake. Careful consideration should be given as to who is most suitable to look after their needs.

Provision can be made in a Will to record who you want to look after your animals when you are no longer with us. While such a provision can be expressed, it is an expression of wish only, and the person is not bound to follow those wishes. Asking in advance if they would be happy to take on responsibility for your pets may help with this. You may also wish to consider the financial implications and whether it would be appropriate or not to bequeath them a legacy towards food costs and future vet fees.

If you live on your own, or do not have anyone who would be able to take on care of your pets, there are several charitable schemes with which you can pre-register to ensure that your animals find caring and loving homes after you are gone, such as the RSPCA’s Home for Life Scheme, the Dogs Trust Canine Care Card and the Cats Protection League’s Cat Guardians Card amongst others. As with personal appointment of pet care-givers, you may wish to consider leaving the charity a legacy in recognition of the responsibility they are taking on.

Of course, being able to care for your animals may not just be impacted by death. If you reached an age where you could no longer care for your animals appropriately, or a health condition meant you were unable to do so, The Cinnamon Trust may be able to help. The Cinnamon Trust has a network of over 17,000 community service volunteers who can provide practical help with day-to-day care, for example walking a dog or getting food supplies.


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