Many people worry about what will happen to their pets after
they die. Pets are often considered a part of the family. To ensure
that your beloved pet will continue to receive the care you would
like in the event of your death, it's important to plan
Did you know that you can provide for your pets in your Will?
You cannot leave money or property directly to your pet, however
much you love it. This is because pets are not capable of
inheriting money or property under our law. However, as the law
treats pets as your property, your pets can pass under a Will like
any other assets.
So how can you provide for your pets in your Will? Some options
you can specify in your Will and things to consider with those
Leaving a sum of money to an animal charity with a legacy
program, such as the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League.
This usually involves leaving a gift of money in exchange for
the charity caring for or re-homing the animal. This will be
suitable for people who do not have anyone to look after the pet.
It is advisable to contact the chosen charity in advance to find
out about their programs and to ask about their preferred bequest
Incorporating a testamentary trust in your Will whereby you
appoint a trustee to manage the trust and provide physical care for
your pet (or you could appoint a trustee to manage the trust and
appoint a trusted friend as the physical carer).
As this option involves money going into a trust and your
appointed trustee being directed to use the capital and income for
the benefit of your pet, you need to ensure that there are
sufficient funds for the trust to last the pet's lifetime.
It's also very important that your Will provides for who is to
receive the unspent money in the trust when your pet dies and the
trust comes to an end.
Leaving your pet to a friend, neighbour or family member,
either with or without a gift of a sum of money.
It is a good idea to check that the nominated person agrees to
take on the pet beforehand and it is not advisable to include
impractical directions (eg, "My pet must be taken for a
walk twice a day" or "My pet must only be fed
organic thinly sliced meat"). The gift of money is
optional, but if it is calculated to cover the costs of maintaining
the pet during their lifetime, it will act as an incentive for the
nominated person to keep the pet and follow your wishes.
Think about all the options available and which would suit the
needs of your pet best. Whichever option you select, make sure you
leave written details about the pet and veterinary documents to be
placed with your Will.
Lastly, it is essential to have legal advice when making a Will,
whether or not it involves provision for a pet as you need to
ensure that the Will is practicable, worded correctly and legally
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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There are several requirements that must be completed by an executor before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
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