What Happens If I Can No Longer Care For My Pet?

Sharing your wishes for your pet

What happens to our beloved pets if we lose the ability to take care of them, or after we’ve died? This can be a huge worry, particularly if specific care is needed for your pet. The comfort of knowing they will be loved and looked after in the way you want is invaluable. Leaving clear instructions about their care will help to create a straightforward transition and give you peace of mind.

There are two main ways of sharing your wishes for your pet:

  • Making a provision for your pet in your will
  • Writing a letter to someone you trust detailing your wishes, including instructions on the day-to-day care of your pet.

Whilst you can’t leave money to your pet, you can provide for the costs of their care. You could leave a bequest – a cash gift in your will – to the person you choose to look after your pet. You could also set up a discretionary trust for your pet’s ongoing care.

It is advisable to discuss this with the preferred carer. Even if your wishes regarding your pet’s care are stated in your will, the person you nominate is under no legal obligation to conform. If they agree, it’s still wise to include a backup option in case there is a change of circumstances.

As you’re having these conversations, it’s a good idea to also discuss a plan if you are taken ill suddenly, and are required to go into hospital. It’s sensible to leave a spare set of keys along with clear instructions so that a trusted friend or family member will ensure your pet is fed the correct amount and cared for as you’d like.

If you don’t have family or friends who can care for your pet, it’s worth doing some research now. There are many animal charities that offer pre-need registration schemes. These schemes give the charities the responsibility for pet care after your death, so by pre-registering you’ll know that the responsibility for your pet will be given to someone you have researched in advance and trust to give the appropriate care.

Other considerations when planning ahead

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