Posted by Michelle Young, Will Writing & Estate Planning Expert
For many people, pets are not just animals, but part of the family. Therefore, it is important you make a provision for them in the event of your death.
As pets usually have a shorter lifespan than that of humans, this is often overlooked. But have you ever wondered what will happen to your pets if you unexpectedly fall ill or die first?
To ensure your pets get the love and care that they need, it is recommended to make formal arrangements for their long term care.
If you do not have family or friends who are able to look after you pet, you might need to reach out to a charity to help you. There are a range of charities offering such support services.
The RSPCA offer a Home for Life scheme that ensures that in the event of your death, the RSPCA will look after them and endeavour to find them a new home.
You need to register for this service and it is a good idea to ensure that your friends, family or the Executor of your Will knows that you have registered and know where your Home for Life documents are kept.
The Cinnamon Trust is a national charity for the elderly, terminally ill and their pets. The Cinnamon Trust offers practical services such as; walking dogs for housebound owners, a national fostering service whereby volunteers take pets into their own home if their owners are in hospital, or long term caring for pets whose owners have died.
For peace of mind, arrangements are made between the owner and the Cinnamon Trust well in advance, so that owners are secure in the knowledge that their beloved companion will have a safe and happy future.
The Canine Care Card is a free service that gives you peace of mind knowing that the Dogs Trust will care for your dog(s) if you pass away before they do.
If you pass away and have a have a Canine Care Card, the Dogs Trust will take your dog in and based on their temperament and needs, a suitable home will be sought. If a dog can not be rehomed, the Dogs Trust will never put down a healthy dog, so they will look after them for the rest of their lives.
To apply for a Canine Care Registration Card, you can request an application form on 020 7837 0006.
Cat Guardians enables individuals to plan for their cats’ future so that in the event of their death, they will take their cats in to one their branches or adoption centres and try to find them a loving new home.
To apply for a Cat Guardian Card you can apply online or contact them on 01825 741 291.
If you are looking for an organisation to take care of your pet in the long term, it is recommended that you have a short term plan in place for your animals, so that the organisation that you have chosen has time to find them a place.
In addition to this, if you are seeking the help of a charitable organisation, as a way of saying thank you, you might want to consider gifting the charity in your Will.
A gift to your chosen charity not only helps secure its long term future, but any donations included in your Will won't count towards the total taxable value of your estate and this could reduce your overall Inheritance Tax rate.
If you are fortunate to have a network of friends and family, someone you know might agree to look after your pets in the event of ill health or even death.
Depending on how many pets you have, you will have to decide whether you want all your pets to go to one person, or whether different pets should go to different people.
Also, you need to remember that overtime circumstances change, therefore you might want to consider having a back up carer(s) in place.
The guardian you appoint for your pets will be responsible for all choices regarding their care, including covering vets bills, therefore this should be a consideration when writing your Will to ensure an adequate provision is made for their on-going care and upkeep.
Those responsible for the care of your pets should be properly briefed beforehand. It is beneficial that your carers are provided with; details of all your pets, keys to your home, feeding and care instructions. It also makes sense if your neighbours, friends and relatives have the details of your pet guardians as well.
By being proactive and making arrangements for your pets in the event of your ill health or death, this will give you peace of mind by ensuring that your pet continues to receive the care and love that it deserves.
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