Australians love their pets. 63% of Australian households care for a pet. Many people consider their pet to be a beloved family member like a child.
When you are making your will, you should think about your pets and their future after you have gone.
You should have your will drafted by a solicitor or the Public Trustee. This will ensure that the will is valid and that your wishes will be carried out after you have died.
If you die without leaving a will, you are said to have died intestate. In this case, your next of kin will inherit your assets. If you have no next of kin, your assets will go to the state government. Your pet will be included as part of your assets.
Be careful in choosing the trustee or executor of your will. Before appointing this person, have a discussion with them to make sure they are willing to carry out their obligations. You must also appoint a person or organisation to provide care and maintenance for your pet. Again, you should speak to this person before appointing them to make sure they are willing to take on the responsibilities of a pet.
Try to leave written details about your pet with your will so that the carer has information about the pet’s behaviour, health and needs.
Make sure you leave enough funds in your trust to last the pet’s lifetime. This may include food, vet’s expenses, outings and travel.
It is useful to note that the RSPCA operates a legacy programme. This provides for the re-homing of a pet or a home for the pet in a facility run by the RSPCA. The facility will provide for all needs such as special diets, exercise, play company and vet’s care.
If you do not have a will or need to update your will to make provision for your pet, make an appointment with a lawyer or the Public Trustee as soon as possible.