Providing For Pets In Your Will

I thought I would explore the options available when clients wish to provide for their animals once they have died. The two most common options of providing for animals in wills is to create a Trust for the care of the animal or to gift a sum of money absolutely to a beneficiary to care for the animal.

Pets in your will

A Trust for the care of animals firstly is called a Purpose Trust. Thus, a Trust that leaves funds to Trustees to be used for the maintenance and upkeep of animals is valid, but the perpetuity period must be limited to maximum period of 21 years. Often you will see these Trusts drafted so that they end whichever is earliest; the end of the 21 year period or the death of the animal. This 21 year period may of course not be suitable for those animals for animals that typically live longer than this.

At the end of the Trust period, it would be advisable to draft a clause to provide for a beneficiary to inherit the balance of the Trust monies. Further, it is advisable to prepare a letter of wishes so that the testator provides guidance on how they would like the funds to be used for the care of the animal. It would be worth including who is to care for the animal if no-one is willing or able to.

Alternatively, testators who may not wish for a Trust to be set up for the maintenance and upkeep of animals, may prefer to give a legacy to someone who will care for the animal after death. A consideration for the testator is, do they wish for this gift to be conditional upon looking after the animal or not? If it is a conditional gift, it puts the onus on the Executors to ensure that the animal is still alive. Is it worth also considering a substitute person who can care should the original beneficiary be unwilling or unable?

For further information or discussion, please contact Wayne Barnett FCA MIPW STEP Affiliate on 26600780 or via email

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