What happens to pets when their owners die?

Writing a will lets you do more than appoint guardians for your children, you can also choose who looks after your pets if something happens to you. Here's everything you need to know to make sure your pets are provided for when you’re gone.

We’re a nation of pet lovers. From watching crazy cat videos on the internet to cuddling up with our pooches on the sofa, pets play a huge part in our lives. So as we get older, it’s only natural that we want to make sure they’re in good hands when we’re gone.

You could be terminally ill and worried about your pet’s future. Or maybe you’ve just bought a puppy and want to know they’ll be looked after if you die unexpectedly. Whatever the reason, writing a will is a great way to make sure your pets are provided for when you’re gone. And by using our online will writing service, you can do it from the comfort of your own home in as little as 15 minutes.

Here’s everything you need to know about appointing guardians for your pets in your will.

How to choose guardians for your pets

When it comes to appointing guardians for pets, most people look to close friends and family members. This is because the pet is usually familiar with them, so it makes the transition easier for your furry friend.

But even if you think your sister would love to have your dog or your niece would love to take care of your cat, it’s important to speak to them about it before writing a will. This helps to make sure they’re aware of the responsibility and are happy to take it on.

Here are a few other things to consider when choosing guardians for your pets:

1. What are your pet’s needs?

If you have a big dog that needs three long walks a day, you probably shouldn’t leave them with someone who works full time in the city. Likewise, a cat that’s used to a calm, quiet home may not cope well with a house full of kids. To make sure you’re choosing the right person, write down your pet’s needs and then decide who is the best fit.

2. How much will it cost your guardian to look after your pet?

On average, a dog costs £2,000 a year in food, treats, vet bills, insurance and other accessories. So when you appoint guardians for your pets in your will, it’s important to consider who can handle the financial burden.

To help your guardian deal with the cost of keeping your pet, you may also decide to leave them some financial aid in your will.

Can you appoint different guardians for each pet?

If you have more than one pet, it’s worth thinking about the pros and cons of keeping them together. The main benefit of keeping your pets together is that there’s some consistency when they move to their new home. However, the more pets you have, the bigger the burden for your chosen guardian.

The best thing to do is make a note of your ideal scenario and then discuss this with your chosen guardian. After all, they may feel ok about looking after one or two dogs, but four could be too many to handle.

If they’re happy with your decision, you can appoint them as the sole guardian of your pets. If not, you can choose to appoint different guardians for each of your pets.

How to appoint guardians for your pets in your will

Our online will writing service makes it quick and easy to appoint guardians for your pets – all from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

To get started, follow the simple steps here. As you’re writing your will, we’ll ask you to add the names of any pets you own. You’ll then be able to choose who you want to look after each pet in the guardians section of your will. If you have children, they’ll also appear in this section.

If you have any questions about appointing guardians or leaving pets in your will, give us a call on 020 3695 2090.

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