Dyer's dog will be upset to know she cannot inherit his £500,000 pledge

It's true, we're a nation of pet lovers and it's no surprise that we want them looked after in the event that we pass away or go into care. And, thanks to a recent playful remark from Eastenders actor Danny Dyer, it's got tails - and tongues - wagging as to how we can make plans for their care if we aren't here to do it ourselves.

It's a dog's life

During an interview Dyer said he'd like to leave a chunk of his estimated £4m fortune to his pet bulldog to cheer her up "because she looks sad all the time". The actor also joked that Debbie the dog would get half a million pounds as a way of winding up his childhood sweetheart wife, Joanne Mas.

Joking aside though, what would happen to our pets when we pass away and, can we leave money to our pets as we would our human families?

Animals as assets

If Mr Dyer was a reader of Downs Solicitor's blogs, he would know that sadly, it's still not legally binding in this country to leave a cash amount to a pet - but you do have a legal responsibility to ensure they are looked after for the whole of their lives.

We recently wrote an answer to a similar question someone had asked in relation to some work we were doing in partnership with dog and rescue centre, Helping Dogs and Cats UK.

An older gentleman wanted to know if he could leave his beloved pet labrador in his will and the answer is, even though an animal isn't an asset in the same way your house might be, it is still recognised as property under the law. As such, you have a responsibility to ensure your pet's welfare, which means if you pass away, you can name a person in your will that you would like to look after them.

Disappointingly, Dyer will not be able to leave any money to his dog

You cannot leave money to a pet, however, you will need to consider the mounting costs that can come with owning a pet. What you could do is leave money to the person - or the "beneficiary" - you have nominated to inherit your pet to help cover some of those costs. That could come in very handy for day-to-day costs, but also if the animal becomes unwell as vet bills can also be expensive.

While we know Dyer was joking that Debbie the dog would stand to inherit half a million, she will be disappointed to hear that she is not eligible for a penny of it - perhaps at the relief of Dyer's wife!

If you would like any more information about drafting a will, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Jenna Hopkins

Jenna Hopkins


Tel: +44 (0) 1483 411525

Office: Godalming Office

Email: j.hopkins@downslaw.co.uk