Pet lovers enjoy strong and loving bonds with their animals, and some people worry what’s going to happen to their pet after they die.
We recently saw a will which included a direction that a much loved dog be put down as soon as possible after the testator’s death. Quite often pets die before their owners, so executors are rarely required to consider directions like this one.
Some animals, and their owners, have such a strong dependence on each other, that the pet won’t be happy re-housed, and it is understandable that a testator might consider that it is in the best interests of the pet that it be put down peacefully, particularly if the pet is already quite old.
There are a range of other ways that you can provide for your pets after your death.
Because animals are considered to be property at law, it is possible to give pets to named beneficiaries in the will. You can also give a sum of money to the named beneficiary to assist with the costs of the pet’s care.
You can also give a sum of money to the executors of your will to hold on trust to pay for the costs of the pet’s care, during the pet’s lifetime.
When you are making your will, if you do have pets, it is worth considering who might be an appropriate person to take on the care of your pet after your death, and making provision in your will for your pet to given to that person. It will be necessary to consider whether it is possible for that person to accommodate your pet, particularly if the pet is larger or more longer lived animals such as a horse or cockatoo, or an active pet like a dog who will need to be walked regularly.
Pets can be such wonderful companions for older people who live alone, who might worry about taking on the responsibility of pet ownership later in life. Knowing that arrangements are in place for the care of the pet after the owner’s death is an effective way of allaying some of the worries.