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Gone but not fur-gotten: Protections for your pets

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of households owning a pet boomed.

With a dedicated ‘Love Your Pet Day’ to Starbucks adding a ‘Puppuccino’ to their menu, it cannot be ignored the importance a pet has on our lives. For many families, pets are viewed as another family member.

But have you thought about putting protections in place for your pets in the event of your death?

Well, the first place to start is by making a Will!

Under English and Welsh law, pets are viewed as chattels which are moveable personal possessions. This means they hold the same legal status as your car, items of furniture and jewellery.

Therefore, when contemplating where you would want your favourite item of jewellery to go on your death, you might also want to consider who would be responsible for your furry friend(s).

For many people, this would be a trusting family member or friend. However, it is worth keeping in mind that many charities offer various rehoming schemes. For example, Cats Protection offer a Cats Guardian Service, Dogs Trust have created a Canine Care Card and Blue Cross have introduced a ‘Pet Peace of Mind’ service, to name but a few.

Alongside this, you may want to consider leaving a monetary gift for the maintenance of your pet. This could either be an outright cash legacy, for the trusted individual only in the event that they should care for your pet, or put into trust. A trust fund would be controlled by the Trustees, chosen by you, for the benefit of your pet. You can specify the amount and how this should be used.

In the event that you do not make a provision for your pet in your Will, it would be the responsibility, and financial burden, of your appointed Executors to arrange who should care for your pet. The costs of rehoming your pet could be taken from your estate. If you do not make a Will, then your pet would fall along with the rest of your estate via the intestacy rules, and the residuary beneficiary may not be the person you want it to be.

If you want to discuss any of the contents of this article with a member of our Private Client team, please get in touch on 0800 088 6004 after all, we are all the help you need.

Olivia Sullivan


Olivia Sullivan


Olivia is a Paralegal in the Private Client team at our Northampton office. She assists the team on a variety of matters including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Estates.