In Lawyer’s Weekly, the Ontario lawyer Gordon Campbell recently wrote about the care of pets. There is need for some planning to look after pets, since some owners predecease their pets.
Under Canadian law, pets are property with enhanced status because of national animal cruelty laws. And since pets cannot “own” property, it is not possible to bequeath assets to them.
However, a Will can include a purpose trust for pets. The purpose trust is set up to establish a fund, which is used to look after surviving pets. In the Trust, a person is appointed to look after the financial aspect of caring for the pets, and another person (often a family friend) is appointed to care for the pet.
Note that it can be risky to name the pet(s) specifically in a Will, because if the pets predecease the Will Maker, the Will’s terms with respect to pets will become void. It is preferable to refer to pets generally (“the dog I own at my death”) than specifically.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on August 21, 2015.