After news that British designer Alexander McQueen has left £50,000 to his dogs in his will, research from MORE TH>N Pet insurance has revealed that British pet owners are set to collectively bequeath £26 billion to their pets.
And more than half of those will do so without telling their family or friends.
The new findings reveal that 35 percent of pet owners plan to leave their pets over £10,000 in their wills, and a further 37 percent admit that they intend to leave more to their furry companion than a close relative or family friend.
And it's not just money the pets will inherit. Over a fifth of owners plan to leave them the family home and a quarter of pets will inherit a wide range of slightly bizarre sentimental personal items, including:
- The pet's favourite sofa or armchair
- Photos of the pet and owner together
- An item of clothing or a pair of shoes
- Items of jewellery
- The owners' ashes
Half of pet owners who included pets in their wills did so because they did not want their pet to end up in a rescue centre. When considering their pet's future, 70 percent of owners made arrangements with family, friends and neighbours, while 19 percent intend to make provision in their will for a full time pet sitter.
John Ellenger, Head of MORE TH>N Pet Insurance said: "Pet owners are naturally concerned about the long term care of their pets and many are taking the necessary steps to make sure they are provided for in their wills. If you are considering putting your pet into your will it is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that a potential caretaker is nominated to look after the welfare of your pet."
MORE TH>N's top tips for providing for your pet in the future
1. Consider your pet's expected lifespan, the cost of upkeep for the rest of its life and who will look after your pet should you die.
2. If you have selected a family member or friend to take care of your pet, talk to them to see if they are prepared to take on looking after your pet.
3. If you do not have a suitable friend or family to look after your pet, or if you want a back-up plan, you can consider placing your pet with a suitable animal welfare charity for re-homing, such as the RSPCA's 'Home for Life' or the Blue Cross 'Pets Into Care' scheme.
4. Gifts of money can be left to a friend or relative with a non-binding request that they look after your pet. Alternatively, gifts of money or a general donation can be left to charities to assist them with your pet's upkeep.
5. As well as writing a will, you should think about what would happen if you died suddenly by informing family, friends, neighbours or even work colleagues what to do about your pet in case of an emergency.