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What Happens To My Pet After I Die?

Preparing for Death

Should you pass away, you wnat your pets are going to be cared for. To ensure this, you must specify in your will who is going to look after them after you're gone. Things can get a little more complicated without a will and you need to know what is going to happen. We'll give you all the information you need here.

Who will look after my pet if I pass away without a will?

When there isn’t a will then there aren’t any clear rules on what will happen. It will often be the closest family relative who will decide what will happen with the pet. This will often be organized among family members.

What happens will change from one family to the next. What usually happens is that the family will wither decide who is the best person to take responsibility for the pet or they will contact an animal shelter or charity to try and find them a new home.

There are several great charities out there such as Dogs Trust and the RSPCA who run amazing services but are also usually very busy. It’s not a foregone conclusion that any charity or shelter would be able to find a pet a happy new home, especially if it’s old or has medical needs.

The big problem here is that you don’t know what will happen after you pass away and you’ll have no control over it. If you’ve not yet made a will, then you can make a verbal agreement with a family member until you do.

Making arrangements for your pet

The best way to ensure that your pet will be well looked after is by setting some specific rules in place. This includes knowing who is going to look after them. This is usually a little more complicated than just choosing your closest family member as there are a few things to consider.

Not everyone is going to be able to look after your pet. There will be ongoing costs which with some pets, can be quite high. You also have to consider if they have the space to look after them and also the ability. For example, someone with mobility issues would struggle to look after a large dog and there are other issues such as allergies to consider.

Even if someone meets all those criteria, they may not feel capable of looking after your pet your one reason or another. It's vital that you ask them before writing it into a will. This way you'll have peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out and the potential guardian of your pet can prepare for taking care of them.

Being clear in your will

Once you write your will, you want to be very clear who the pet will be left to and what pets you’re talking about. This is especially important if you have several pets. You'll also want to mention any requirements they have and if you have any specific requests for their care.

It’s useful to know that for the purposes of a will, a pet is seen as an asset. While that may feel a little cold to you, it’s an important distinction. This means that assets or money can’t be specifically left for your pet. Instead, you can leave them to whoever will look after your beloved pet.

Creating a trust

While you can’t leave money in your pet’s name, you can create a trust. This is where you set aside a specific amount of money that is to be used solely for the care of your pet. This can be used for vet bills or simply their ongoing care.

This is a great idea if your pet is a large financial commitment and you want to help your guardian with the costs. If the pet dies and there is still money left over in the trust then you can also decide where these funds should be allocated.

Who will look after my pet?

It’s natural to wonder who cares for my dog or who cares for my cat after you pass away. As long as you clearly set it out before you pass away, the person who looks after your pet will be whoever you want it to be. All you need to do is make sure that they are in a position to give your pet the care that it needs.

While there are many great animal charities, they can struggle with demand. Often pets that aren’t suitable for rehoming will be put down as they are too difficult to care for. It shows the importance of putting something in place in case you pass away that will ensure your pet is going to be well cared for long after you’re gone.

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