Animal lovers often choose to leave considerable amounts of money to their furry friends when they pass away, but pet owners are being warned not to neglect their human loved ones in order to avoid hard-to-resolve disputes.
Nicola Marchant, contentious wills and probate expert at law firm Pannone Solicitors, says there has been a three-fold increase in the number of people contesting wills that leave large amounts of money to pets and animal charities in the last few years, according to the International Business Times.
Lawsuits filed by relatives trying to get their paws on money left to animals can often be extremely lengthy, complicated and expensive, which is why owners should remember that bequeathing pets and animal charities can often cause serious problems if other family members are not included in the will as well.
Animal charities rely on donations to survive, and Ms Merchant says donkey sanctuaries are particularly frequent recipients of money left in wills.
However, in the long run this can cause more harm than good, as angry family members engage these charities in costly legal battles that put a strain on their resources.
Furthermore, when leaving money to an individual pet it is important to remember that their needs are limited to a constant supply of healthy pet food, access to medical care and other pet medication, and a safe, comfortable environment in which to live, but that beyond this all pampering and special treatment may in fact go unappreciated.