As you can imagine, we get asked now and again whether it’s possible to leave money or property to pets in a Will. The short answer to this is ‘no, you can’t’. Well, not directly anyway. Gifts that you make in your Will must have an identifiable human beneficiary.
But don’t despair! This doesn’t mean that you can’t provide for your pets after you have gone.
What you can do instead is leave money in trust, for the purpose of caring for your pets. You’d need to appoint a specific person (or more than one person) to look after the money for them, and this person would be able to use the money however they see fit, to care for your pet in line with your wishes.
To help them understand your wishes, you could also leave a Letter of Wishes setting out how you’d like your pet to be taken care of, and how the money should be spent for their benefit.
That said, whatever amount you leave needs to be ‘appropriate’. For instance, it might not be appropriate to leave a £100,000 legacy for the benefit of an elderly cat, because this is probably an unreasonably large amount, taking into account the cat’s life expectancy and needs.
What you could do though, is put a clause in your Will to say where any left over money should go if it’s not all spent before your pet dies, such as to an animal charity, which might be a fitting tribute.
If you have a beloved pet and are concerned about what would happen to them after you’ve gone, we can provide you with some sound, practical advice.
We can also talk to you about certain animal charities, who can care for your pet until he or she is re-homed.