So you read the news that Alexander McQueen left £50,000 to his pet dog and thought ‘only in the celebrity world’ – however leaving a cash inheritance to your pet is actually quite common.
A survey conducted by More Than Pet Insurance found that British pet owners plan to bequeath a staggering £26 billion to their pets and many will do so without telling their family or friends, research suggests.
The new findings also reveal 35% of pet owners plan to leave their pets more than £10,000 in their wills, with a further 37% admitting they intend to leave more to their pets than a close relative or family friend.
And it is not just money that pets will inherit.
Over a fifth of owners plan to leave them the family home and quarter of pets will inherit a wide range of sentimental personal items, including: pet’s favourite sofa or armchair, photos of the pet and owner together, an item of clothing or a pair of shoes, jewellery and even the owners ashes.
Half of pet owners who included pets in their wills did so because they did not want their pet to end up in a rescue centre.
By writing a Will you are setting out your final wishes and quite rightly you will want to ensure that your loved ones are looked after following your death.
There is no reason why this should not extend to your pet animals. Pet owners will tell you that their pet animals provide them with unconditional love and companionship during their entire lifetime; is it therefore not understandable that pet owners will want to leave money to their pets? This was certainly what Alexander McQueen thought.
So is it legally possible to leave a legacy to your pet animal in your Will? The answer is yes, but it is not a simple case of leaving a legacy directly to the pet animal. In law a pet animal is not considered in the same light as a human, perhaps rather insensitively a pet animal is considered as more of an asset.
There are a couple of options available to ensure that your pet animal is looked after in the event of your death:
1) By gifting your pet animal together with an appropriate cash legacy to a friend or relative who you know will be able to care for your pet animal in the same way that you would. It is of course advisable to discuss this idea with your selected friend or relative before you set out your wishes in a Will!
2) By gifting your pet animal together with an appropriate cash legacy to an animal charity that operates a re-homing service; for example the RSPCA operate a free ‘Home for Life’ service. It is always advisable to seek information from the chosen charity before you set out your wishes in a Will.