Who will care for my pets when I die?
11 April 2023
In the unfortunate circumstance where an owner no longer possesses their mental capacity or sadly passes away, it’s not always clear what will happen to their pets. For owners living alone, it’s essential to make arrangements for their pets in case they can no longer look after them.
Owners have plenty of options when choosing who will care for their pets. A lasting power of attorney enables the owner to transfer authority to a trusted individual who will continue to take action in the way you have decided after losing your mental capacity. When an owner dies, it’s also important to decide where your pet will live. This detail can be specified within your will to ensure your wishes are fulfilled after death.
At Redkite Solicitors, we understand that you’ll always want the best for your pets. Preparing for a time when you can no longer care for them guarantees they’ll continue to have a happy and comfortable life. For expert advice on lasting powers of attorney or will writing, speak to one of our solicitors today.
Arrangements for your pets in your Will
To account for your pet’s life after your death, it is possible to include instructions for caring for your pets within your will. This legal document indicates how you would like your estate to be distributed amongst your beneficiaries. Within a will, you can determine how your money and property will be distributed, as well as who will take care of your pets in the eventuality of your death.
Considering where your pets will live is a critical factor that encourages many people to write their animals into their will. You can include simple clauses leaving the animal to a named friend or family member. However, it is essential to remember the financial burden you are handing over to this individual.
Some pet owners decide to create discretionary trusts to set aside money to cover certain expenses. As any pet owner will know, pet insurance, specialist food, and vet bills are costly expenditures. When making arrangements for after their death, owners can consider whether a trustee should receive money to fund the decisions they have made for their pet.
If rehoming your pets with a friend or family member isn’t viable, several charities will provide care for your pet or rehome them with a new family. For example, the RSPCA’s Home for Life scheme can be written into your will. The RSPCA will then take responsibility for finding a new home for your pet after your death.
How to include your pets in your will
Pet owners who already have a will can easily include a new clause that specifies how you would like your pet cared for after you’re gone. In the eyes of the law, pets are seen as your property, just like any other belonging you own. Therefore to pass your pet onto a new
owner, all you need to do is name the recipient as a beneficiary in your will, along with the pet’s name.
If there’s nobody in your life that can take on the responsibility of caring for your pet, you can also consider naming a rescue group or charity as the beneficiary that will become their guardian. You could also consider leaving a donation in your will to demonstrate gratitude for caring for your animal companion after your passing.
If you require any specialist guidance whilst writing your will, don’t hesitate to contact Redkite Solicitors. Our specialist solicitors can help secure the future you desire for your pets.
Lasting power of attorney for your pets
With up to 52% of the adult population owning a pet, it is clear that here in the UK, we have a soft spot for our fuzzy friends. However, owning a pet comes with plenty of responsibility. To be correctly taken care of, pets require specific food, exercise and routines. If you could no longer take care of your pet, imagine how lost they would feel.
There is a fast-rising trend among UK pet owners that involves putting measures in place to protect the best interests of pets, even after losing the ability to care for them. Plenty of owners have considered putting a lasting power of attorney in place to ensure their needs are taken care of in the long run.
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to select a trusted individual to make decisions if you no longer have the mental capacity to make them yourself. Whilst this is typically implemented for healthcare and financial-related decisions. For pet owners,
an LPA could be submitted detailing how the pet should be taken care of in the event of their owner’s illness or disability.
By appointing a trusted attorney to care for your pet, you can specify whether the pet continues to live with you and make arrangements for daily food and exercise. You may also designate an individual or charity to re-home the pet and determine monthly or weekly visits.
How to appoint a lasting power of attorney for your pets
To appoint a lasting power of attorney, you must currently be over 18 years of age with full mental capacity. You can then decide who will be your attorney. This is the person or people that will make decisions for your health, finances, pets, or other personal choices on your behalf. You can appoint more than one person to be your attorney, but you must decide whether decisions should be made independently or agreed upon together.
Next, a series of forms must be submitted to legally register the lasting power of attorney. At Redkite Solicitors, we recommend utilising the services of an experienced solicitor to complete this documentation as they can make certain that an LPA is set up to ensure your decisions are made in the way you intend.
Finally, you must register your lasting power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. This is a branch of the UK government that works to help residents of England and Wales stay in control of their decisions and help those unable to make their own decisions. Your solicitor can assist in the process and, upon request, can also inform your attorneys of their responsibilities. It typically takes up to 20 weeks to register your LPA before the document becomes legally binding.
One of the simplest ways to ensure your pets are cared for in the manner you intend is by registering a lasting power of attorney or making arrangements in your will. This allows pet owners to provide specific instructions for the care of or relocation of the pet in circumstances where you can no longer care for them. This arrangement guarantees that you have taken care of them as a pet owner, even when you have lost the ability.
While creating your lasting power of attorney or writing a will, you may find it helpful to enlist the services of a professional solicitor. An LPA isn’t typically utilised to make arrangements for your pets, but it guarantees that there are instructions in place for how they are taken care of. At Redkite Solicitors, we can provide the guidance you need to complete either process without hassle. Get in touch today to speak with one of our solicitors and receive expert advice from start to finish.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.