The importance of a carefully drafted Will – provisions for pets

Animal lovers and certainly most pet owners will agree with us when we say, pets really are part of the family.  Therefore, it is not unusual for families to want to ensure that their beloved pets will be looked after and provided for, should something happen to their owners.

Many people however don’t realise that it is not possible to leave a gift to an animal under a Will. The pet itself can be left, just like any other asset of the deceased. However, many pet owners want to ensure that their pets will be taken care of, not simply leave things to chance and hope for the best. A carefully drafted Will can ensure that your pet is left to the right person and that that person has financial security to meet the pet’s needs and care, for their lifetime.

Some considerations:

  1. Who would you like to look after your pet

Is it a friend or a family member? Once you have made the decision, it’s always a good idea to speak to that person to make sure that they are happy and willing to take on this responsibility. Remember the chosen beneficiary can always decline the gift. It may be sensible to appoint an alternative beneficiary. If you do not wish to leave your pet to either family or friends, you can elect a charity to take on the task of looking after your pet and finding them a new home.

  1. Who will pay for your pet’s needs?

Looking after a pet can be expensive, therefore it’s important to consider whether it would be appropriate to leave a sum of money to the person trusted with the care of the pet, for the pet’s benefit. You can either leave an outright gift to the beneficiary or set up a Discretionary Trust, which ‘drip-feeds’ a regular sum of money to the trusted owner to be used for the pet’s needs.

Without a valid Will, the fate of your beloved pet will be left to the laws of intestacy. Nevertheless, even if you have a valid Will, it is important to review this to ensure it still accurately reflects your wishes and that it makes adequate provisions for your pets.

If you wish to discuss your individual circumstances with one of our Private Client solicitors to make sure that you choose the best option for you, please contact us on 01228 522215 or



Article written by : Mariya Dimitrova

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