It’s a sobering thought that half of all UK dog owners haven’t considered what would happen to their pets should they die – and that not adequately preparing for your dog’s care means he risks being given away or even put down should something happen to you.
According to new research by Saga Legal Services, only a tiny fraction of us (three per cent) have made provisions for our dogs in our Will, so to help owners, Saga has released its Pets Left Behind Guide, which is available to download for free at www.Saga.co.uk/legal
Emma Myers, Head of Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning for Saga Legal Services has the following tips:
* Add a Trust to your Will. This is a legal arrangement allowing assets such as property or money to be looked after for the beneficiaries in your Will. There are several types of Trust available, but when providing for pets, a Discretionary Trust is usually the most sensible. With this, you can set aside a certain amount of money to care for your pet by gifting it to a Trustee, in this case the new owner. Ensure the trust lasts for longer than your pet’s probable life span, e.g. 30 years for a cat or a dog.
* Consider how much money to leave. The amount depends on the type of pet and the lifestyle you want it to lead. Some may want their pets to live a pampered life while others may just want to cover the basics, such as food and vets bills.
* Set up a Lasting Power of Attorney. While the above helps you provide for your pet when you die, you should also consider what happens if you become seriously ill or incapacitated. With a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), your designated attorney would be able to make provisions for your pet, such as paying a vet bill or for temporary care as needed.