Providing for your pets The Aristocats way!
I’m spending lockdown with a toddler which means constantly being on the go and coming up with ways to entertain him. We’re trying to make lots of nice memories as a family, however some days we end up on the sofa (exhausted) watching a Disney film and trying not to feel guilty about the screen time!
One afternoon we watched The Aristocats, the whole premise of the film is Madame wanting to leave her estate to her cats and then to her Butler after her cats have died. Warning, this is a spoiler alert! But it’s not hard to guess that the Butler then comes up with a scheme to get rid of the cats so he can receive his inheritance as soon as Madame dies. Thankfully the cats outsmart him!
This might simply seem like a nice plot line for a children’s film, but it’s very common for people to make provision for their pets in their wills. As in The Aristocats, pets are part of the family and people want to make sure they are provided for in some way following their deaths.
So what should you consider?
- First remember, it is not possible to leave cash gifts to your pets as they cannot open bank accounts!
- It is possible to leave a gift of your pets to another individual or to a charity in your will. However before doing this you should check that the person or charity you want to look after your pets is willing to do so.
- You don’t have to specify a particular pet in your will, as you may have more or different pets by the time of your death. Instead you could leave all of your pets to the person specified.
- You should consider the costs of looking after that pet, such as the food, vets bills etc. You could include a cash gift in your will to the person who takes care of your pets either as a thank you or to ensure they have the funds to care for the animals appropriately. This gift could also be conditional on that person actually looking after your pets.
- You should also consider who else you would like to look after your pets, in the event that the first person named is not able to do so.
- You might want to include more specific wishes about how your pets are looked after in a letter of wishes.
Clauses in wills relating to pets can be complex and need to be worded correctly to ensure they are valid. For that reason it’s important that your will is prepared by a solicitor so you can have the confidence that your wishes in relation to your pets can and will be carried out.
If you’d like to discuss making provision for your pets in your will then contact Katie Watts or one of the Trusts, Wills and Estates team at Raworths LLP on 01423 566 666