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July 19, 2023

For Pet’s Sake: Remember to Include Your Furry Friends in Your Will

By: Willful

As pet owners, our furry, feathery, or scaly friends hold a special place in our hearts. With the growing number of pet owners in Canada, it’s essential to consider their future well-being in the event we are no longer able to care for them, like sweet Fluffy below. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of including pets in your will to ensure their protection.

Heartwarming story and photo of cat who was abandoned after owner died

Understanding Canadian laws for pets in wills

In Canada, pets are considered property under the law. However, provincial regulations for pet inheritance, including who will take care of your pet when you’re gone, may differ. To make sure your will adheres to local rules, consult a lawyer familiar with your province’s regulations. And consider these provisions when including your pet in your will:

1. Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal arrangement that makes sure your pet is cared for after you’re gone. The benefits of setting up a pet trust include dedicating funds and outlining a detailed care plan for your furry friend.

2. Designating a caregiver

Choosing a guardian for your pet is an important task. Otherwise, your “fur baby” could end up in a local humane society – or worse, on the street – instead of in the home of someone you trust. Pick someone responsible, capable, and willing to take on the role. Have an open conversation with the person that you choose and make sure they understand your expectations. Remember to include this information in your will, so it’s legally binding.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a caregiver:

  • Compatibility: Make sure that the guardian’s lifestyle, living arrangements, and experience match your pet’s needs.
  • Affection and commitment: Choose a guardian who genuinely cares for your pet and is committed to their long-term care.
  • Responsibility: Select a reliable and responsible person who is capable of handling daily pet care tasks and emergencies.
  • Financial stability: Pick a guardian who can afford ongoing pet expenses if the financial provisions in your will are not sufficient to care for your pet.
  • Willingness and legal consent: Confirm the chosen guardian is willing to accept the role and obtain their legal consent.

3. Financial provisions for pet care

It can be expensive to care for a pet over their lifetime. Estimate your pet’s future expenses, including food, grooming, and veterinary care, and allocate funds in your will to cover these costs. Use Willful’s Pet Trust Calculator to determine how much money you should allocate for the care of your pet.

Additional considerations for exotic or special needs pets

Exotic or special needs pets often need unique care and expertise. Be mindful of the associated costs and regulations, and seek out specialized caregivers or organizations to make sure they are well taken care of.

Making a will that includes your pets

Drafting a legally binding will is essential for your pet’s future. Here are some helpful tips:

• Consider using an online will company to create a pet-friendly will that adheres to Canadian laws. (Did you know? Serenia Life members have access to a free digital will. Learn more.)

• Update your will as circumstances change, such as when you adopt a new pet or your chosen caregiver is no longer available.

Leaving a legacy of love

Including your pets in your will leaves a lasting impact on their lives. It’s an important part of pet ownership and can give you peace of mind knowing your beloved companions won’t be left to fend for themselves after you’re gone.

ABOUT WILLFUL

Willful™ provides an easy, affordable way to create a will and other estate planning documents online in Canada. The company’s mission is to ensure every Canadian adult has a will in place, and it has helped over 150,000 Canadians since launching in 2017. Available in 8 provinces, including a fully bilingual offering in Quebec, Willful works with leading estate lawyers to create and maintain its legal content. The company has partnered with some of Canada’s largest brands, and it is the only online will provider with a conditional license from the Law Society of Ontario. To get started, visit willful.co.

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