Wills and Pets

July 31, 2013

When it comes to your death, it will not just be your family and friends who will be affected, but also your pets. So why do we not consider them when it comes to estate planning and wills? It has been a growing trend over the last two decades or so to encourage lonely and elderly people to consider a companion animal. A companion animal can often make a far greater difference to a person’s emotional and psychological well-being than any expensive cocktail of medications.

So what becomes of this pet, whether it is feathered or furry, when their owner passes away? Many of the Wills of people from Sydney’s Inner West have now begun to include provisions for these voiceless family members.

Here are a few ways you too can ensure your pet’s happiness and care after you have gone, through your Will:

      • a legacy to a friend or a relative with a non-binding request that they look after your pet

      • a legacy programme with an animal charity – in exchange for leaving a gift of money to the charity, they will look after your pet

      • a trust for the care and maintenance of your pet

When thinking about any of these options, remember to consider how long your pet will live and what the cost of their care over their lifetime will be.

Ideally, if you choose the first option, choose someone who is reliable and already has some form of positive relationship with your pet.

If you are considering the second option, the NSW Animal Welfare League and NSW RSPCA have pet legacy programmes. You will need to contact them in regards to the requirements of this programme. There are also other animal services who can rehome your pet as part of a pet legacy programme.

For the final option, as you would when setting up any trust, you need to find a trustworthy executor or trustee who is willing to uphold the terms of the trust. You must also ensure someone, a carer or organisation, continues to look after your pet daily. Most importantly, there must be sufficient funds in the trust to last the rest of your pet’s life.

If you are looking for someone to help you with estate planning in Sydney’s Inner West, visit CM Lawyers or call (02) 9568 6266.


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