How To Care For Your Pet On Your Passing?
Wills for Pets
As Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, it is no wonder that more people are considering how to care for their pets once they have passed away. In the eyes of the law pets are classified as property and as such can be dealt with under a persons Will. What this means is that while you cannot leave a bequest directly to your pet, you can ensure your beloved pet is continued to be looked after once you have passed away.
The first and simplest way to deal with your pet is to gift it to a trusted family member/friend or even a charity. You may wish to accompany the gift of your pet with a care plan, which details how your pet is to be cared for. It may also provide useful information to the new owner, and include information regarding the pet’s diet, health concerns and the like. It is important to note that your requests are not binding on the new owner, but instead act as a guide.
In addition to gifting your pet, you may choose to gift a sum of money to the family member/friend or charity. You may give the money to the person with the direction that the money be used for the care of your pet. Again, this direction in regards to the use of the money will not be binding on the recipient and there is always a risk that they may not follow your wishes.
Who Will Look After Your Pet?
The final and most complex method of ensuring your pet is continued to be looked after is to again gift the pet to a trusted family member/friend or charity, with the addition of money being set aside in a Trust under your Will. By setting aside the money in a Trust you are able to ensure that the money is used for the care and maintenance of your pet over its lifetime. There are a number of factors which must be considered prior to setting up a Trust for your pet under you Will. This includes considering how much money should be set aside to ensure that the pet is covered for the entirety of its life and also what should happen to the unspent monies in the Trust once your pet has died. You should also consider appointing substitute carers for your pet, in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to care for your pet. Establishing a Trust for a pet in your Will can be complex and it is always recommend that legal advice is first sought.
Rightly or wrongly, you must remember to include any relevant human relations in your Will, as excluding a potential beneficiary (in lieu of your pet) may result in a family provision order claim.
If you have any questions regarding providing for the care of your pets on your passing, please contact Olsen Lawyers on (07) 3846 5288. Current as at 2 December 2019.