Wills – leaving money to pets.

Oct 5, 2021

Wills and leaving money to pets

Are you thinking about leaving money to your pet(s) in your Will and wondering if you actually can?

Well, the answer is “yes” and “no”. A lawyer’s answer, I hear you mumble.

According to the law you ‘own’ your pet. They are your personal property. So, leaving money directly to a pet in a Will is like giving money to an item of personal property – like to your favourite teddy bear or your favourite recliner chair. Makes sense, right?

Well, no, of course it doesn’t.  In other words, the answer is that unfortunately no, you cannot leave money to pets in Wills.

So, is there anything you can do? I’m happy to say yes, there is!

You can make provisions in your Will to provide financially for your pet for its lifetime by:

  • making a gift of your pet and sufficient money for its welfare, to a trusted friend who has agreed to look after your pet for its lifetime; or
  • giving some money to a reputable animal welfare organisation (called a pet legacy) and in return that organisation will look after your pet for its lifetime; or
  • creating a trust fund and the trustee will then supervise the money in that fund to ensure that it is properly spent on the welfare of your pet.

And in case you are interested to know about the world’s richest cat…

According to Guinness World Records it’s Blackie, the last surviving cat of Ben Rea (a UK millionaire antiques dealer) who bequeathed $12.5M to his beloved pet, with a local cat charity to be Blackie’s carer.

CAUTION: This article contains general information of public interest only and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, legal advice specific to the reader’s personal circumstances. Should you have a legal matter, please seek professional advice before acting or relying on this content.