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Leaving pets in your Will
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Home / Making a Will / Creating your Will / Leaving pets in your Will

It is estimated that thousands of pet owners in the UK die each year without making arrangements for their pets in their wills.

The law treats pets as property and there is, therefore, no reason why you should not make provision for them in your will. By making provision for your pets in your will you will have the opportunity to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death and that your pets are properly looked after.

How do I ensure that provision is made for my pets in my will?

To ensure that provision is made for someone to look after your pets in the event of your death your will should include a clause passing care of your pets to the person whom you would like to care for them.

Not everyone is willing or able to look after a pet and, therefore, it is a good idea to discuss the matter with the person you would like to take care of your pets before you make your will.

What if I do not have any family or friends who would be prepared to look after my pets?

The RSPCA provides a free service called “Home for Life”. Where a pet has been signed up for the service the RSPCA promises to find a suitable and loving new home as soon as they can in the event of the pet owner’s death. In the meantime the pet will be cared for at an RSPCA animal centre.

The RSPCA has published some suggested wording for including in a will to ensure that care of your pets is passed to the RSPCA in the event of your death.

The RSPCA asks to be notified of your wishes before you die and for you to send them a copy of your will.

What if I don’t make provision for my pets in my will?

If you don’t make provision for your pets in your will then you run the risk that your pets will be left unwanted, uncared for or even homeless.

What about the cost of looking after my pets when I am gone?

Caring for a pet can be a financial burden and it is a good idea to leave in your will to the person whom you would like to look after your pet in the event of your death a sum of money to cover the cost of caring for your pet.

It is worth noting that anything you leave to a registered charity, such as the RSPCA, is paid free of Inheritance Tax. The RSPCA, like many charities, relies heavily on bequests made in wills.

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Single Will or Mirror Wills?

If you are a couple and wish to leave all your assets to each other then you could save money by making  Mirror Wills. You can also use Mirror Wills if you whish to leave your estate to the same beneficiaries. 
If you wish to leave different legacies, appoint different executors or you would like to specify individual funeral wishes then you will need to make two Single Wills.
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