Can Your Pets Inherit From Your Estate?

Can pets and animals inherit from your estate once you pass away? Bridge Law's latest blog answers this question and how to leave provisions for your pets in your Will.

Following the sad news that fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has passed away leaving a portion of his fortune to his beloved pet cat, people are asking the question, can your pet inherit your estate?

The short answer is sadly not. The law rather archaically classifies pets and animals as an asset which forms part of an estate.

You can of course protect your fur babies and ensure they continue to be looked after following your death.

  • Gift your pet to a relative or individual – you may wish to also include a gift of monetary consideration to ensure that your pet is provided for in relation to their food and vet bills etc.
  • Letter of Wishes – you can attach a Letter of Wishes to a Will so that the executors and beneficiaries are guided as to how you wish your estate to be distributed. The Letter of Wishes can provide provision for your pet and gives you the opportunity to detail the care which you expect your pet to continue to receive.
  • Create a Trust – opening a trust with sufficient funds in it allows your appointed trustee to access the said funds for the purpose of looking after and maintaining your pet. There are, however, several catches to this as the courts have been somewhat restrictive when it is known that the trust is purely for the benefit of a pet.

It is of course crucial that any gift to your fur babies is carefully drafted as you may find that family members losing out may seek to challenge your Will on the basis that they have not been provided with reasonable financial provision.

If you need any clarification as to how to provide for your pet when you are gone, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Written by Sophie Murgatroyd

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