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Have you got a pup-nup? Is your family pet-protected?

by Ridley&Hall in Family & Matrimonial, Loreena Walker, Loreena Walker, Will Nicholson, Wills posted July 29, 2019.

For many of us pets have become an integral part of our family life.

Two things you should consider in relation to your pets are what will happen to the pets when you die and who would keep the family pet if your relationship was to break down.

Although your pets may feel like a member of the family, according to the law in England and Wales, pets are considered your personal possessions. You can’t leave money to your pets in your Will however you can decide who will look after your pet by leaving them to a named beneficiary.

In addition to deciding who will look after your pet you can leave the beneficiary a cash legacy to cover the costs incurred in looking after your pet, or alternatively you can leave money in a trust with a letter of wishes setting out how you’d like your pet to be taken care of.

If there isn’t anyone that you would trust or would be willing to look after your pet, you can request that your pet is left to a particular charity who can help to re-home them.

In the same way that a pet is considered personal property in your Will, a pet is treated in the same way if your relationship were to break down. Deciding on how to divide your other personal possession such as your furniture may be straight forward but deciding who will look after the pet is far more emotive.  It is always best where possible to avoid an expensive legal battle with regard to who should keep the pet. Key points to consider are who “owned” the pet in the first instance, who takes care of the pet’s needs on a daily basis e.g. feeding, walking and veterinary care. But more importantly does the pet have a closer attachment to one of you than the other and would you be able to continue to meet the pet’s needs on your own.

Many couples put agreements in place to protect their assets, so it is worth considering having an agreement prepared whether you are living together as a couple or if you intend to marry which will set out who your pet will live with in the event of a separation. If you plan to have a co-habitation or a pre-nuptial agreement in any event a clause can be included which deals with your pets.

If you would like further information with regard to making arrangements for your pets please contact us on 0800 8 60 62 65.

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