by Faye Evans, Partner, Churchers Solicitors
Those are the first words that many of my clients say to me. They go on to tell me how worried they are about what will happen to their pets after they die. I tell them, “of course you’re not crazy, I hear it all the time.”
In Britain we love our pets. Our pets become an integral part of our family and, in the same way we all worry about our two-legged family members, it is natural to be concerned about who will look after our pets when we are gone.
In fact, talking about it to a solicitor is a great way to alleviate those fears. Solicitors can offer advice as to the best way to ensure that your dog, cat, or even tortoise, is cared for after your death. Some charities offer a home for life for pets (this usually involves making a legacy to the charity under your will, along with a specification in your will that the charity is to provide a permanent home for the natural life of your pet).
Another alternative is to name a family member or friend to care for your pets after your death. But – remember to discuss this with the person involved before including it as a provision in your will. There is no point leaving Fluffy to Aunt Amelia, who hates cats and would sooner have a wild bear in her house than give your beloved pet a home.
You may wish to leave a sum of money in your will to pay for care, veterinary bills etc., throughout your pet’s life. It is usually simplest to leave a legacy to the person who is accepting the pet, with the proviso that if they don’t take the pet, the money goes to the person who does take on the care.
A will can be as individual as you (or your pet). By having a bespoke will drafted for you by a specialist solicitor, you will be ensuring that your specific wishes are being met. Clients often tell me that, having made their will, it is the knowledge that their beloved furry (or scaly) companion will be looked after that gives them the greatest peace of mind.
If you have any questions or wish to seek advice on an issue concerning the writing of a will, please call Faye or someone from her team on 023 9282 0747.