Providing for your Pet in your Will

In recent meetings several of my clients have stressed their close bond with their pets. For my client’s peace of mind, it was very important for them to be able to discuss the options available and to make plans should their furry, feathered, scaled and reptilian friends outlive them. This is a common issue as nearly half of all households own a pet.

Although under English law your pet can be left in your Will like any other property, it is not possible to leave money directly to a pet. However, there are several options available to provide for the care of a much-loved pet after a death.

Pet Legacy

If there is a particular family member or friend who is willing to take on the pet’s care, you can leave the pet and a cash legacy to them in your Will. This can be associated with a provision that the person undertakes to care for the pet for the rest of its life. 

Pet Guardian

A second option is to appoint a pet guardian. They would be able to facilitate the arrangements for the pet after a person’s death. You can leave your pet and a cash sum to the guardian. In addition, a Letter of Wishes can be prepared to provide further instructions about who you might wish to care for the pet and helpful information about the pet’s care. The cash legacy can be used to pay the vets expenses, until a new home is found and thereafter to provide for the care and expenses for the rest of the pet’s life.

It is important to speak to anyone you would wish to be involved with your pet’s care at an early date to ensure that they agree to taking on the responsibility. 

Charity registration scheme

A third alternative is to leave a cash sum and the pet to a charity. Several charities have developed schemes to ensure that a pet is cared for when their owner dies. These charities have a nationwide network that can act swiftly and provide a temporary home until a permanent one is found. The schemes provide for the registration of a pet during an owner’s lifetime. The information provided to the charity helps with the pet’s future care. 

With foresight, arrangements can be put in place to ensure that an older person is able to have all the benefits of owning a pet. This is with the knowledge that should they pass away before their pet, there is a plan in place for their pet’s future.

If you would like to discuss providing for your pet in your Will, please chat to Nick Clarke (Solicitor and cat owner) or a member of our friendly Life Planning Team at Guest Walker who would be able to help – Telephone us on: 01904 624903 or email:

Nick Clarke
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