Protecting furry friends when the owner dies

What happens to pets when their owner dies? Often, the ownership of the pets will be passed on to those whom they live with.

It can be given to a family member, friend, or rehomed? But, what if no one is able to look after them?

There is no doubt that pets are usually overlooked in the estate planning process. Taking cognisance of this, Rockwills International Group, the leading wills and trust specialist, is introducing a pet trust to heighten awareness and help pet owners to plan according to their wishes and make provisions for their pets after they are no longer around.

Rockwills International Group chief executive officer (CEO) Azhar Iskandar said failing to make provisions for a pet could result in the pet being forgotten as the family splits up the estate.

“No individual heir of the estate may want to assume care for the pet and the pet would be abandoned.

“Planning for animal care is similar to planning for dependent children with special needs. There is an immediate need for prescribed facilities and funds for the care of the pet,” he said.

A pet trust, he said, offers a system of checks and balances that ensures that pet’s needs will be taken care of.

“In a trust, the beneficiary would receive the benefits of the money under the oversight of a trustee, the person named as the distributor of the funds,” he said.

Azhar further explained that trusts differ from wills in effectively serving the needs of dependents like special needs children and pets.

“The main difference for pet owners is that a will can be tied up in probate, which may be a lengthy process in some instance, leaving the plan and care for the pets unresolved for period of time.

“A will goes into effect only when the testator dies, a trust takes effect as soon as it is created, which may be necessary if an individual is incapacitated in some way,” he added.