If you are one of the 24% of UK adults who own a dog, you’ll know that a canine companion is much more than a pet.

Dogs are fully-fledged family members and as such many people wish to leave them money in their will and worry about who would care for their dog if they were to die.

The bad news is that dogs cannot legally receive inheritance, so don’t be tempted to leave your furry friend cash.

However, you can make provision for your dog in your will, naming a family member or friend who you would like to take care of your pet should you pass away.

Pets are considered personal possessions according to the law in England and Wales, so can be gifted to someone else by including a letter of wishes with your will.

Consider this carefully though and discuss it with those who you would like to inherit your dog. You must be sure that they would be happy to take on your beloved pet, could provide a suitable home, sufficient exercise and cover the cost of vets bills and food.

In your letter of wishes, you can include all of the information that your dog’s new owners will need about how to look after your pet, for example, relating to diet and medical needs.

You can also leave money to help cover the costs of caring for your dog. Be aware though that the person who inherits your pet is under no legal obligation to use the money for that purpose.

You could instead create a trust into which a sum of money will be paid, enabling trustees to manage the payments so that your pet is cared for. The trust can last for the life of your pet and you can specify who you want the balance to be paid to, such as an animal charity or family member.

If you would like to make a will to protect your loved ones (including your pets), our Private Wealth solicitors can help. Please email enquiry@beswicks.com or call 01782 205000.