Pets are an integral part of many families, which means people are often keen to ensure they are appropriately cared for should the worst happen.
When writing a will, it is important to remember that a pet cannot be a beneficiary of an estate in Australia. In other words, if you have plans to leave all of your assets to your dog or cat, this is not possible.
However, this doesn’t mean pets cannot be adequately cared for in the event of your death. There are a number of options available to animal owners, which can put their mind at rest when considering estate planning.
Give pets to a beneficiary
Asking a beneficiary to look after your pet when you die is a common request. This should be arranged in advance to ensure they are willing and able to carry out your wishes. Many people also provide an additional cash sum to the beneficiary in the will to take care of ongoing costs throughout the animal’s lifetime.
RSPCA Pet Legacy Program
If there are no beneficiaries that you feel comfortable leaving your pet to, RSPCA QLD offers a pet legacy program should you pass away. To enrol in the scheme, you must leave a bequest to the organisation, which is essentially a charitable donation.
The program ensures your animals will be rehomed to an appropriate family when you die, and the RSPCA even looks after your pets in emergency situations such as if you are admitted to hospital.
Charitable bequests in general
The RSPCA is not the only charity that provides legacy services – you may find several other not-for-profits that will look after your pets when you die. As with the RSPCA, it is likely you will need to leave a bequest to the charity to secure the pet’s care.
Please contact specialist wills and estates lawyers in Cairns at Williams Graham Carman for more information.