Can You Leave Your Pet An Inheritance When You Die?

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A pet is often as valued as a family member as your blood relations (and in some instances, even more so). It makes sense to want to make sure that they are provided for if you were unable to care for them, especially if it were due to your death.

For actual human family members, leaving an inheritance is a fairly simple recourse. You create a will, stipulating how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries and hope that everyone will be civil and fair about your wishes.

However, leaving an inheritance for pets is more complicated.

For one, Australian law does not allow for your estate to be left to your animal companion, as they are legally defined as being a part of your estate. Pets are technically considered your property, much like a car or house.

This means that they are unable to inherit assets.

However, if you want to ensure that they are provided for in the event of your passing, you can create a foundation or trust specifically dedicated to taking care of your beloved animal.

In this situation, a trusted director would be responsible for using the funds to ensure the pet’s care. They may also give the money to an existing charity, stipulating that the necessary funds be used for the pet’s welfare.

A trust set up to look after a pet must have a human as a beneficiary to enforce the trust.

Unfortunately, in some cases, when the pet has died, the beneficiary has been known to replace it with a similar animal to ensure that they continue to receive the money.

Keeping the affairs involving your pet in order will take careful planning. A trust is only one avenue that your pet can be protected through – you may choose to gift them to a trusted loved one, with funding allocated for their care.

A specialist in wills and estates can help by guiding you in the best way to ensure that the future care of your pet is as secure as possible.

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