Caring for your animal companions after you’re gone

A will can protect your pets after you're gone and make sure their future care is binding.

Avoiding estate planning because it’s not fun to think about makes sense. But having a will is especially important if you have people or animals who depend on you financially and if you want to leave a gift to your favourite cause(s).

According to a 2012 survey by BMO Bank of Montreal, 89 percent of Canadians consider their pets to be a member of their family.

Unfortunately, under Canadian law animals are still considered "property" and this can make including animals in your will a bit tricky. A work around is to leave a pet to someone as "property" and leave money to that individual to use designated funds to care for your animal the pet.

While an informal agreement of what will happen is helpful, it's best to have it in a legal document to avoid any confusion or debate after you are gone.

In addition to creating a will to protect and provide for your loved ones, you can also leave a gift to support your favourite cause(s).

Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a will ensures that whatever personal belongings and assets you do have will go to family or beneficiaries you designate. Without a will, the court will make these decisions.

There are many ways that you can leave a legacy for the animals.

Some people specify a certain dollar amount, while others leave a percentage of their estate. You can also leave property, RSPs or other kinds of gifts. We encourage you to talk to your lawyer or accountant for help to decide which option will work best for you.

If you would like to leave a gift to The Fur-Bearers please email Lesley@TheFurBearers.com so we can recognize your generosity and help ensure that your wishes will be fulfilled.

Our animal companions depend on us their whole lives: taking steps today to put them in a will ensures that they can keep counting on us after we’re gone.


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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible.

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