Family with four legs: how to provide for pets in your will

Old man with pet dogWhen a pet owner dies, it can be a confusing and stressful time for their animal. Their favourite person has suddenly disappeared, they might be moved to another house or city, there are new sounds and smells, and even the food might be different. A previously calm and tolerant pet might become anxious and need time to adjust, but there are no guarantees that the family of the deceased have the time or patience to help them.

Around 40% of UK households have a pet, but many people forget to include them in their Will – or neglect to make a Will altogether. This means every year, thousands of pets in the UK face an uncertain future when their owner dies. Most of us consider our four-legged friends to be a part of the family, so it’s our responsibility to keep them safe – even after we pass on. If you get a probate solicitor to make your Will, you can feel confident nothing has been left out, least of all your most precious companions. This will also reduce the risk of Will disputes after you die.

So what happens to my pet when I die?

If you have a Will but do not give provisions for your pets, they become the legal responsibility of your executors, as pets are considered property in the UK. That being said, your executors are not legally obliged to care for your pets; instead, they can take them to a charity, re-home them, or even put them down.

Here are some precautions you can take to ensure your beloved pet has a comfortable and secure future:

  • Get a specialist Wills and probate solicitor to draft your Will – they can make sure it’s worded correctly and gives provisions for your pets.
  • If you want to leave your pet with a specific person, confirm with them that they are willing and able to take your pet.
  • You cannot leave money to your pet, but you can offer funds to the person or organisation that will take care of your pet.
  • Charities like the RSPCA and Blue Cross have schemes where you can register your pets, and they will re-home them if you die. Keep a copy of the registration documents with your Will.

How Romain Coleman can help

As specialist London probate solicitors, Romain Coleman has extensive experience with drafting Wills. We know what matters to you, and that your most valuable possessions are measured in love, not monetary worth. You’ve spent years looking after your pets, so don’t forget to look after them in your Will. Getting your Will drafted by a probate solicitor also ensures it will be legally sound, reducing the risk that anyone will dispute it later on.

Call us now

If you have a pet and want to make sure they are included in your will, contact our expert wills and probate solicitors today. You can call us on 0208 520 4555 or fill in our Free Online Enquiry form.