What will happen to Fido, Felix or Flopsy?

What will happen to Fido, Felix or Flopsy? image

Our pets are our constant companions – on hand twenty-four hours a day, every day, offering loyalty and love. They help reduce stress by providing emotional security as well as providing a fixed routine. Pets bring us happiness and laughter to lift depression.

As pets usually have shorter lifespans than their owners, people tend to overlook care needs for a pet, should the owner’s health unexpectedly deteriorate.

When a person suffers from unexpected illness, accident or death, pets may potentially be overlooked.  Sally Runnacles, a Chartered Legal Executive at Farnfields Solicitors, says “There are things that you can do now, however, to help prevent this from happening to your pet by taking some simple precautions.”

  • Speak to your family and friends to see if anyone would be agreeable to act as a temporary emergency carer for your pet in the event that something unexpected happens to you.
  • Arrange for a responsible person you trust to have a key to your home and let the temporary owner know about your pet’s feeding and care instructions, the name of their vet’s surgery and any information about permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.
  • Make sure your neighbours, friends and relatives know how many pets you have and the name and contact numbers of the people who have agreed to serve as emergency owners.
  • In your purse or wallet, carry an “alert card” that lists details about your pets and the names and contact numbers of your emergency pet owners.
  • Attach inside your front and back doors removable notices listing details about your pets and your emergency pet owners. Some pets need daily care and will require immediate attention in the event of your unexpected accident or illness.

The best way to make sure your wishes are fulfilled is by also making formal arrangements that specifically cover the care of your pet under the terms of your will. It is not enough that your friend or a family member has verbally promised to take care of your pet in the case of your death or long-term illness. You may also wish to decide to leave money to your family member or friend for taking on the responsibility of becoming your pet’s new owner on a permanent basis.

Over time, people’s circumstances and priorities change and the people that you have chosen may not be able to act as your pet’s new permanent owner. In this instance, your executors in your will could arrange for your pet to be rehomed.  Finding a satisfactory new home can take several weeks of searching and enquiries, which may incur additional costs as well as the costs for transporting the animal to their new home setting. Always remember though there are many pet charities that can step in and help with pets where the owner has either moved into a care home on a permanent basis or has died.  Again, you may have a particular charity in mind with which you wish to rehome your pet.

Don’t forget – if you have adopted your pet from an animal charity, as part of the contract when you took on the pet, there may be the obligation to return the pet to the charity should something happen to you.  Again, this is something that your executors will need to know in the event of your death.

Also, consider making a power of attorney so that in the event that you lose your capacity that your chosen attorneys can use your monies to ensure that your pets are appropriately cared for.

Sally goes onto say, “Our pets are like members of the family and should not be forgotten when forward planning the administration of your assets should you lose capacity or worse die.  By determining appropriate plans now, there is less stress for your family and friends to deal with in the event of sudden incapacity. Farnfields Solicitors specialise in drawing up both bespoke wills and powers of attorney. These can be tailored to your own specific requirements, ensuring that in the unfortunate event that something did happen, you have complete peace of mind as far as loved ones are concerned, whatever their shape or size.”


If you would like further advice please do get in touch with a member of the team. 


Get in touch