I am writing this article overlooked by various family photos including pictures of my dog Charlie. He is very much a member of my family and I’d like to think that he would be well looked after if I was not able to do that personally.

Australia has a very high rate of pet ownership with over 60% of households containing one or more pets. Dogs are the most popular pet followed closely by cats and thereafter by a wide range of birds, horses and other animals.

Household pets often become very important to their owners but relatively few owners make formal provision for their pets in the event of the owner’s death or incapacity. That is usually due to oversight rather than lack of concern. So what can you do?

Most prudent people have Power of Attorney arrangements in place particularly to cover their affairs should they lose the ability to do that for themselves. Unless you make specific provision in your Power of Attorney for expenditure to maintain your pet, your Attorney may not be able to use your money to look after your pet.

Likewise, you need to consider pets in your Will. The issue is nominating the right person to look after your pet and making a financial arrangement to cover care costs after your death. You can’t give money to the pet itself but you can give money to a carer directly or through a trust to be utilised for the welfare of the pet. Your Vet will usually be able to give you some guidance about an appropriate amount to be set aside for future care of your pet.

When making arrangements for a pet either through your Power of Attorney or your Will, it will usually be prudent to also provide the proposed caregiver with “personal” information in relation to the pet. This would usually be done by a separate letter but could detail care instructions, food preferences, veterinary arrangements and likes and dislikes. This information can be invaluable to the carer in making decisions going forward.

At Everingham Solomons we can assist you with all your Estate Planning needs because Helping You is Our Business.

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