Why you should include your pets in your will

Many people overlook the importance of including their furry companions in their estate planning. Without proper arrangements, pets could end up in unsuitable homes or shelters.

In this article, we discuss why it’s crucial to plan for your pet’s future and the process of including them in your will. We spoke with Aislinn Volker at Malherbe Rigg & Ranwell to get legal expert insight.

Why is it important to make provision for your pets in your will?

It is a surefire way to ensure their wellbeing after you pass away. This involves choosing a caretaker, managing finances and safeguarding your pet’s interests. Fortunately, in South Africa, freedom of testation allows you to make provisions for your pets in your will, as long as these are not impossible, illegal or against public policy.

Should you name a guardian who can look after your pet in your will?

It’s advisable to appoint a guardian for your pet in your will, although it’s not mandatory. The appointed guardian will take care of your pet if you pass away or become incapacitated. When choosing a guardian, consider someone who is reliable, responsible and genuinely loves animals. It’s also important to have a conversation with the potential guardian to ensure that they are willing and able to take on the responsibility.

Is it necessary to provide the caregiver with funds for the pet’s care?

Since pets are classified as property, they cannot receive direct benefits. Thus, any money or property left to a pet must be managed by a person on their behalf. Deciding whether or not to provide funds for your pet’s caregiver is discretionary and depends on their financial situation and your pet’s needs. It’s advisable to provide funds, if possible, to ensure that the pet’s needs are met, and the caregiver is fairly compensated for their services.

Is it a good idea to create a trust for the pet?

Creating a trust is a great way to provide for your pet after you pass away, and it allows you to specify the care instructions and resources for your pet. However, there are administrative fees, tax implications and preparation fees for financial statements associated with creating and administering a trust. The appointed trustee is also entitled to reasonable remuneration.

What are the differences between a will and a trust?

A will requires an executor to distribute assets to beneficiaries, while a trust requires a trustee to manage assets and distribute them to beneficiaries. A will is a public document, while a trust is private, providing greater privacy and flexibility.

In summary, a will and a trust are both estate planning tools, but they serve different purposes. A will is primarily focused on distributing assets after death, while a trust is focused on managing assets and property during one’s life.

Would you like to read the rest of this very interesting article? Get the June 2023 issue of Animaltalk magazine now from retailers, or order a printed or digital copy from www.coolmags.co.za.

 

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