We’re definitely animal lovers at Finders – although we would probably stop short of leaving an entire house to a dog in our wills.
A story in the Metro earlier this week detailed the will of accountant Rose Ann Bolsany who has included her pet dog Bella Mia, a three-year-old Maltese, in her will. Ms Bolsany has specified that her dog will share in the trust fund she has set up for her sons so that her pet can continue to live in the way it has grown accustomed to – designer outfits, fillet steaks, diamond jewellery et al.
It is thought that there is some £40 million left to pets in peoples’ wills every year – and there are plenty of stories of besotted animal-loving millionaires leaving fortunes to animals. You can’t actually leave money to an animal, but if you have made arrangements for your pet, you should include this in your will. Otherwise, your executors may decide on other arrangements for your pet.
As Ms Bolsany has shown, if you do have the money to spare and you do want financial arrangements put in place, you can set up a trust on your pet’s behalf – with the income going towards support of the animal.
Winston Churchill’s fondness for his marmalade tom-cat Jock means there is a ginger and white cat living at the wartime prime minister’s former country home at Chartwell to this day. The current incumbent is Jock IV.
For other people, though, considerations are simpler – what will happen to my pet when I die? Many older people find the company of a pet dog or cat very comforting and it can help with loneliness, a scourge of the modern age.
But taking on a pet at an old age can seem off-putting. Your cat or dog might have a good 10-15 years of life ahead of it.
The simplest way to make sure your pet is provided for is to ask a family member or friend if they would be happy to take on your pet after you die. But research has revealed that pets are the top item that people would not want to receive in a will, with 41 percent of those questioned saying they would hate being left a dog, cat or other animal in a will.
So if leaving your beloved Rover or your adored Tigger to your off-spring is what you plan to do, it’s advisable to have that conversation well in advance and not spring it on anyone after your death. You should tell that person about the annual costs involved in your pet’s upkeep – food, vet bills, insurance, kennel fees etc. – and leave money to that person for the animal’s care.
Remember too that you can’t write anything in your will insisting that your chosen pet beneficiary looks after Rover or Tiggy.
Pets are important to many people. Make sure you have thought what will happen to your pet and that those around you know of your wishes.