We are a nation of pet lovers with 51% of UK adults owning a pet1, spending a staggering £6.9 million on our pets in 20192. But whether that be on biscuits for your Bulldog or a Christmas onesie for your Cavapoo, our lavish spending on our pets is no longer limited to when we are alive because more and more people are choosing to make provisions for their beloved pets in their Will. Making sure they enjoy continued life of luxury after you pass.
Many pet owners will admit to seeing their pets as an integral part of their family and whilst you cannot directly leave money to your pets in your Will, you can put money into a trust for a nominated human being to access in order to care for your pets in line with your documented wishes.
Of course we don’t need to be reserving millions for our four legged friends like some have. It’s reported that Oprah Winfrey has bequeathed $30 million3 in trust for her five furry friends, a sum of money that most humans can only dream of. A 2015 Mintel survey4 indicated that “Animal-loving Brits are spending a fortune on their furry friends with the average owner splurging £1,150 a year - or £95 a month”.
"If you were to pass before your pets do then someone will
have to foot the ongoing costs of caring for your pets"
But making sure your pets are adequately provided for should you pass before they do is probably a wise thing to do. If you were to pass before your pets do then someone will have to foot the ongoing costs of caring for your pets, ranging from the day to day feeding of your furry friends to potentially bank-busting vets bills. Having some provision in your will would ensure that at least the financial burden of caring for your pet is covered.
Jess Orme, one of our Private Client Paralegals here at Thornton Jones (and also a loving animal owner) says;
“If you are thinking of making a Will or already have one but haven’t made any provision for the ongoing care of your pets then you should speak to a solicitor to put things right. Here are my top tips for making sure both your family and your pets are suitably protected”
Make a Will or Update Your Will Now
No matter how old you are you should really have a Will in place. A Will makes sure that your wishes are heard after you die and your finances, assets and estate go to the people you have specified in your Will. Without a Will the law will decide how your estate is passed on and this may not be in line with your wishes.
Nominate a trustee in your Will
If you have pets then think about nominating a friend or family member who you trust to care for them when you die. Be sure to check with them that they will be happy to take the reins and fulfil your wishes before you do though! If you find it difficult to nominate a suitable person then some animal charities will care for your pet whilst looking to rehome.
Calculate How Much You Wish to Place in Trust
From the daily food requirements and monthly flea treatments to the more pricey elements of pet ownership like vets bills and grooming, be sure to calculate how much provision should be made to ensure your pets remain well cared for.
Leave Some Money to an Animal Charity
As a lover of pets you’ll do doubt be an advocate of the great work animal charities do. For some, their residents will be as a result of the pet owner having passed without making adequate provision for them and therefore the animals reside with the charity until such a date they are hopefully re-homed. If you have the means maybe consider leaving something to your favourite animal charities.
Have your Will Professionally Written
Even in simple circumstances, the writing of a Will needs to be extremely explicit and a failure to do so can lead to much complications and stress (and even cost) for your family to remedy after you pass. Using a solicitor to make your Will removes this risk and provides both you and your family with peace of mind knowing that when you pass your expertly written Will will not cause any distress.
If you are looking to make a Will or to update an existing will and make provisions for your pets please call us to discuss and to make an appointment.
Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
Call our Garforth office on 0113 246 4423
Call our Ossett office on 01924 586 466
2 SOURCE: https://www.statista.com/statistics/308266/consumer-spending-on-pets-and-related-products-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/#:~:text=The%20most%20recent%20figures%20published,million%20British%20pounds%20since%202009