According to the pet charity PDSA 52% of UK adults own a pet and 27% of UK adults own a dog.
There are an estimated 10.2 million pet dogs in the UK.
I know from experience that a pet dog really does become part of the family. So what happens to your dog if you die?
Unlike property such as a house there is no official legal registration for pet ownership. So it’s a good idea to have a plan in place to ensure your beloved dog or any other pet is well looked after if something happened to you.
Dealing with dog ownership after your death
When I was younger I was never really a fan of dogs so I was not happy when my parents decided to buy Molly, a black Labrador.
My two younger brothers were the opposite. They were really pushing my parents to get a dog so I blamed them.
At first my worst fears came true, Molly would jump all over me, pinching my food and nipping at my socks.
It wasn’t long before I headed off to university and I was free of the little rascal.
I did used to wonder what would happen to Molly if anything bad happened to my parents. Being the oldest child I thought the responsibility might end up with me and I knew my two brothers would probably fight over her.
So what does happen to your dog when you die?
A dog or any other pet is considered a ‘Personal Chattel’ which is legal speak for a possession rather than a property.
So in the same way you need to decide what happens to all the items you own on your death, you also need to decide who would look after your dog.
You would normally do this via your Will.
If you don’t have a Will or have made no specific provision for your dog in your Will then it will be up to your Executors (the person or people administering your estate) as to what happens.
Using your Will to request what happens to your dog when you die
Over the years I grew fonder of the family dog Molly to the point where we are currently considering having a dog for my own family.
My parents had so much love for her so it was really upsetting for all when Molly passed away a year or so ago.
In some ways having a dog is almost like having a young child and you would always want to be very clear what happened to your young children on your death.
So the best way to be clear what happens to your dog on your death is to make instructions in your Will.
If there is someone you would like to take care of your dog on your death then it’s a good idea to speak to them about it as they would not be legally obligated to take on the responsibility. It might also be good to have a back-up plan in case they decide against it.
You should also consider the cost element of looking after a dog and perhaps make a financial gift to whoever you decide you would like to look after your dog so they can cover the costs of looking after your beloved animal.
If you feel there isn’t anyone you can leave your dog to then there are various charities that would take your dog in.
The other advantage of making your wishes clear in your Will is that it also stops any family feuds. Especially if it’s the family dog and you have a number of children you know would all love to take on care.
Here at RTS Financial Planning, estate planning, including the protection of your wealth and passing it down securely to the next generation is a big part of what we do. If you would like your Will reviewed to make sure it does what you are expecting then please get in touch for a no obligation free 15-minute call.
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