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    Wills – Leaving money to pets

    This month I want to chat about Wills and your pets.

    “Can I leave money in my Will to my pet?”. Well, the answer is – “yes” and “no”. A lawyer’s answer, I hear you grumble.

    According to the law you own your pet. It is your personal property. So leaving money directly to a pet in a Will is like giving money to an item of personal property, like to your favourite teddy bear. Now that makes sense, right? In other words, it cannot be done.

    You can however make provisions in your Will to provide financially for your pet for its lifetime. You can:

    1. make a gift of your pet, and sufficient money for its welfare, to a trusted friend who has agreed to look after your pet for its lifetime;
    2. give some money (called a pet legacy) to a reputable animal welfare organisation and in return that organisation will look after your pet for its lifetime;
    3. create a trust fund and the trustee will supervise the money in that fund to ensure that it is properly spent on the welfare of your pet.

    Oh and in case you are interested to know about the world’s richest cat…….the richest cat is reported to be a 4-year-old stray cat. The seemingly very lovable Tommaso inherited $13 million (AUS). Let’s hope he doesn’t change now he has all that money! (Source ABC News 13 Dec 2011.)

    CAUTION: This article contains general information of public interest only and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, legal advice specific to the reader’s personal circumstances. Should you have a legal matter, please seek professional advice before acting or relying on this content.

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