In today’s modern households, pets are considered members of the family. When we plan to go on holiday or have to leave our pets at home, we ensure that they are well looked after with people that we trust. We care about our pets and their welfare and want them to be cared for when we are unable to do so ourselves.

With this in mind, it is no wonder why more and more people are including their pets in their wills. This does not mean leaving money or property to your pets (as this, legally, cannot be done), but rather provides instructions as to who will care for your pets and how they will be cared for after you pass away.

If you are one of the increasing number of people looking to include their pets in their advance life planning, the team at Miller Sockhill can assist you with drafting a will that will provide clear instructions as to what will happen with your beloved pets.


Advance life planning provides certainty regarding our care makes our wishes known to those who are responsible for carrying out those wishes. Advance life planning can include:

  • Wills.
  • Powers of Attorney.
  • Advance Health Directives.
  • These documents are comprehensive and provide detailed advice regarding your wishes if you lose capacity or pass away.

If you pass away and have not provided for your pets in your advance life planning, they face an uncertain future. This is especially concerning if there are no beneficiaries, family members or friends who are able to care for your pets. In this scenario, it is likely that your pets will be surrendered to an animal refuge or impounded.

Thankfully, your pets can be cared for by planning ahead.



Your pets can be provided for in your will by inserting a clause that details who you wish to care for your pets and how you wish your pets to be cared for.

Alternatively, if you do not have anyone who is able to care for your pets, the RSPCA runs a program called “Home Ever After”. This program allows you to register your pets with the RSPCA and provide detailed instructions about how you would like your pets to be cared for. This information is then used to find your pets an ideal home. When you pass away, the RSPCA will be notified and will be able to immediately care for your pets following your instructions. This program is free of charge, however, donations are always welcome and can be left as a gift to the RSPCA in your will.

Powers of Attorney

If you wish to put in place a Power of Attorney, your attorney will be able to make financial and other health matter decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity. Your attorney can also be informed of any financial needs arising out of your pets’ care, such as vet bills or grooming requirements.  Health matter decisions your attorney can make on your behalf may include you being admitted into a care facility, leaving your pets by themselves.

If you already have a Power of Attorney in place, it is important to inform your attorney of your wishes in regard to your pets as your attorney will have the decision-making powers on your behalf once you lose capacity.  Through communicating your wishes to your attorney before you lose capacity, you can be certain that your pets will be cared for according to your wishes.

Other documents that can assist

You may wish to prepare other documents that outline feeding instructions, exercise plans, medications or other information that relates to the specific care of your pets. This document can be kept in a safe place or given to someone you trust, such as your attorney or executor of your will.

Providing for your pets in your advance life planning is becoming increasingly popular.

If you, like many others, worry what will happen to your pets after you pass away, contact the friendly team at Miller Sockhill Lawyers who can answer all your questions about advance life planning.


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Check out some of our other resources including information on What happens if I die without a will?Have you been adequately provided for in your loved one’s Will?