It can often help to leave your Trustees a Letter of Wishes with your Will, allowing them to understand your intentions for the care of your pet. The Letter will usually set out how you would like your pet to be taken care of and how the money should be spent for their benefit.
How much can I leave for my pets?
There is no fixed amount or limit to what you can put into a Trust. However, you must ensure that whatever amount you leave is ‘appropriate’. For instance, it might not be appropriate to put £100,000 into a Trust for the benefit of an elderly cat, because this may be viewed as an unreasonably large amount when considering the cat’s needs and life expectancy. On the other hand, the same amount to care for a young horse may be more reasonable.
It is possible that, where an inappropriate sum is left to the Trust, the entire gift could fail on those grounds. You can avoid such problems by adding a clause to your Will indicating where any left over money should go if it is not all spent before your pet dies. You might decide that any left over money should go to an individual, or individuals, or to an animal charity, which might be a fitting tribute.
Who will care for my pets?
It can give great peace of mind to know that someone will be able to take over care of your pets if anything should happen to you.
You could nominate someone to take on this role, if you wish, and provide that person with a gift of money for the care and maintenance of your pet. Often this will be a trusted friend or family member, who you know will love and care for your pet as you do.
Alternatively, you could request that your pet be given to a specific charity. If you have a West Highland Terrier, for example, you could nominate the Westie Rehoming charity to take and rehome your dog, so that they are cared for by a charity which has knowledge of the specific needs of the Westie breed.
There are also some more general animal charities, such as Dogs Trust or Cats Protection, who have schemes in place to care for your pet until they are rehomed. You may also wish to financially benefit any charity you nominate as a ‘thank you’ for rehoming your pet.