Nick Jonathan, a solicitor in the Wills and Probate department at Richard Nelson LLP said:
"Whilst many pet owners gain some peace of mind through informal arrangements with a friend or neighbour to care for their pets, this is not always enough. Food costs, vet's bills and kennel costs can be a substantial drain on a person's resources and many will feel obligated to continue to care for a deceased friend's pet even though they can ill-afford to do so."
Whilst many animal charities provide rescue centres for animals which have been left homeless, and schemes such as the RSPCA's Home for Life do exist, many people are still not aware of them. In any event, there is no guarantee that they will succeed in placing a pet with someone able to look after it. Thus, the only safe way of ensuring that your pet is cared for after your death is to make specific provision in your Will and to ensure that funds are made available to the carer to assist with the costs of looking after the pet.
Often pet owners do not realise that in many cases relatives are reluctant to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet. It is a good idea, therefore, for them to discuss the matter with the person they would like to take care of your pets before making a Will and to make provision - either by way of a regular payment or capital sum, to help with the costs of the pet's future care.
"We are encouraging people to think about the welfare of their pets in the same way that they would think about all other aspects of their estate," said Nick Jonathan.
"Pet owners should consider appointing someone in their Will to look after their pets in the event of their death and establishing a fund which is able to be used for the pet's welfare and upkeep," he said. "If they don't then there is a grave danger that the pet will become homeless and uncared for."
More information about pet related provisions in Wills can be found on their specialist wills and probate web site Your-Will.com.
# # #
Richard Nelson LLP, who have offices in offices in Nottingham, London, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol, deal with a wide range of business and family law related issues including Wills and probate, powers of attorney, family law, civil and commercial litigation, regulatory and disciplinary issues and business related matters including legal, medical and sports law related investigations, fraud and money laundering. They operate an innovative approach to the provision of legal advice allowing clients to choose between online and traditional methods of access to services combined with fixed fee services and value for money packages.