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  Leaving a gift in your Will

Leaving a bequest
  Bequest Animal Program
  Solicitors & Will writers

A bequest to the RSPCA is your way of making a real difference to animals in need. Your bequest will help us continue to care for more than 37,000 animals that come into our care every year.

Bequests enable us to plan for the future, achieve more and ensure that animals in need will continue to receive the vital animal welfare services that RSPCA Victoria provides.

Your bequest means a great deal to RSPCA Victoria, and to assist you in writing your bequest, please see our Bequest Brochure with recommended wording for your will.

If your bequest is to include the care of any animals you have at the time of your passing, please see information on our Bequest Animal Program.

More information
P  9224 2238
Individual Giving Team

Download RSPCA Bequest Animal Program information brochure

Download RSPCA general bequest brochure  

Register with RSPCA Bequest Animal Program

Bequest Animal Program

The RSPCA Victoria Bequest Animal Program (BAP) has now been operating for more than 20 years and provides pet owners with the comfort of knowing their pets will be loved and cared for if they can no longer look after them. The program allows pet owners to make provision in their will for the lifelong care of their animal.

Registration for the program involves the completion of a registration form and confirmation of a minimum bequest to RSPCA Victoria. The cost of registration is dependant on the type and number of animals, and is used to cover the cost of veterinary treatment for the animal for the rest of his/her life.

Pet owners become unable to care for their pets for a number of reasons. They may move into a care facility where they cannot take their animal, become unwell or pass away.

Animals registered on the BAP are accepted by the RSPCA in all of these cases. The animals become the legal responsibility of the RSPCA and are then placed in carefully selected permanent foster homes.

Special care is taken to place animals according to the conditions outlined in the registration process. As far as possible animals are placed in homes that closely replicate the one they have come from.

Foster carers are responsible for providing a safe and comfortable home for the animal, and attending to its daily needs such as feeding, exercising, grooming and payment of local council registration fees.

All veterinary fees for the animal are covered by the bequest left to the RSPCA by the original owner.

The RSPCA keeps in contact with foster carers and make annual visits to our special bequest animals and their new families.

For further information on the Bequest Animal Program please download our brochure or phone the Individual Giving Team on (03) 9224 2238 or email

Including the Bequest Animal Program in your Will

As you are aware a Will is an important document. As you make provision for your family and friends, the Bequest Animal Program also allows you to extend that provision to your pets. Simply by completing the attached registration form and including a specific clause in your will, you can be assured that your animals will have a caring home for the rest of their lives.

To include your pets on the Bequest Animal Program we ask that you please leave a minimum bequest to RSPCA Victoria of $6,000 per cat or dog. If your animal has a pre-existing medical condition, we ask that you please consider the medical costs involved with their ongoing veterinary care for their lifetime when bequeathing an amount. The attached brochure outlines how to include this in your will. Of course, if you choose to leave more than this amount, your generous bequest will not only ensure the top medical care for your animal but also help the RSPCA continue its important work caring for ‘all creatures great and small’. 

Making or changing a Will is not expensive or difficult, and a solicitor or trustee company can help you. If you decide to write your own will please refer to our ‘Solicitors & Will writers’ tab for the recommended wording. 

More information
P  9224 2238
Individual Giving Team

Download RSPCA Bequest Animal Program information brochure

Register with RSPCA Bequest Animal Program

Wording for a general bequest

You or your client may wish to leave a bequest to the RSPCA either as a specific amount, percentage of estate or the residue of estate. By making a percentage or residue bequest, you can ensure that family members and loved ones are provided for and that the value of the bequest will not be eroded over time.

A bequest means a great deal to the RSPCA. It will be used to fund critical animal welfare services as soon as the bequest is realised, with any surplus funds to be invested for long-term RSPCA operations. 

To ensure that the wishes of you or your client are accurately carried out, it is important to use the correct wording.

For your convenience, we include the following recommendations on how you can word your bequest:

After payment of all my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and all duties, taxes and charges payable on my Estate at my death, I give to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Victoria) (“RSPCA”):

(a)  the sum of $<amount>; 
(b) <percentage> of my estate; 
(c)  The residue of my estate; 

for the general purposes of the RSPCA. I declare that the receipt of the treasurer or other proper officer of the RSPCA will be sufficient discharge for my Trustees.

Bequest Animal Program wording (clauses)

The following are examples of appropriate wording of gifts in conjunction with the Bequest Animal Program.

"After payment of all my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and all duties, taxes and charges payable on my Estate at my death, I give to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Victoria) (“RSPCA”) my surviving pets and:

(a) the sum of $<amount>;

(b) <percentage> of my estate;

(c) The residue of my estate;

(d) The required sum of money per pet as required by the RSPCA at that time;

(“the gift”) for the general purposes of the RSPCA on the condition that my surviving pets be cared for under the RSPCA’s Bequest Animal Program or other relevant program or policy; the gift will not fail if I do not own any pets at the time of my death.

I direct my executors to arrange for the transportation of my surviving animals from their current residence to the RSPCA (Victoria) site at Burwood East (or the RSPCA (Victoria) main office as relevant) and contact the RSPCA (Victoria) Bequest Animal Program Coordinator (or any other relevant position) to inform them of the transportation details. I further direct that any costs Related to such transportation of my surviving animals to be paid from my estate. 

I declare that the receipt of the treasurer or other proper officer of the RSPCA will be sufficient discharge for my Trustees." 

Bequest Animal Program - FAQs

Can my client leave a bequest specifically for an animal (ie name the pet)?

We recommend that a bequest is made that includes ‘my surviving pets’ rather than for a particular pet. This saves altering or updating a Will if the individual acquires another pet. It is important, however, for pets to be individually registered so that their needs can be properly met.

Can the gift be conditional on Bequest Animal Program?

The RSPCA relies on community support to continue operating. Our preference is to encourage individuals to recognise this in their Will, however there is no obligation for the gift to be conditional on the Bequest Animal Program, if there are no living animals.

What is the minimum bequest amount to include an animal on the Bequest Animal Program?

Individuals must make a gift of at least $6000 per pet for inclusion in the Bequest Animal Program. This amount will cover veterinary treatment for the life of the animal and boarding at RSPCA facilities, once in foster care. Many clients decide to leave more than the minimum amount for the ongoing care of their pet. Any amount not used for veterinary care is directed to the services of the RSPCA.

What will my client receive?

When your client registers their pet, they will receive an emergency kit that includes a wallet card and a fridge magnet. These are designed to alert people to the fact that, in an emergency, your client has animals that can be taken to the RSPCA for care. Your client will also receive an identification disc to attach to their pet’s collar or cage. This disc will include their pet on the RSPCA database. All ‘bequest animals’ are clearly identified on the database for appropriate care in case of an emergency.

How will RSPCA be notified that the pet needs immediate care?

We encourage Bequest Animal Program registrants to inform their executor/s, family and friends of their intentions for their animals. With this, and the mechanisms described above, we have created many avenues for the RSPCA to be notified of an animal’s need.

Why is it so important to register?

Registration allows the owner of the pet to provide information about their pet’s daily habits, routines and likes and dislikes. This information is used to rehome the animal in a suitable environment and minimise the stress associated with such a move. Through registration, the animal will also be provided with the safeguards outlined above. These are designed to ensure that loved pets are never left without care.

Can you guarantee that the animal will find a home?

We hold a register of individuals who have committed their interest in fostering through this program. The Bequest Animal Program runs very separately to the RSPCA adoption program. Foster carers have the ongoing support of RSPCA vets and animal behaviour specialists to help them understand and care properly for pets with particular illnesses. This support means that almost all bequeathed animals have been successfully rehomed.

What if my client wants to offer a friend or family member the option of caring for their pet?

Sometimes an individual may wish to nominate a ‘preferred foster carer’ such as a friend or family member. In such cases, the ‘preferred foster carer’ and the owner will enjoy the benefits of the Bequest Animal Program. Potential ‘preferred foster carers’ should contact the RSPCA to make these arrangements.

Does the RSPCA require a copy of the Will?

For completeness of our files, we prefer to have a copy of the Will on file. This can help us to fulfil the long-term intentions of the owners. In the case of non-standard or conditional bequests, it is important for our legal team to have the opportunity to view the will. We can then be confident that we can meet the requirements of the Will.

What is the role of the foster carer?

Foster carers are responsible for the everyday care of the ‘bequest animals’, including food, bedding and grooming, and of course, love and attention. RSPCA Victoria remains the owner of the animal, and maintains constant contact with the foster carers to ensure that they are being cared for in the manner that their owner’s would expect. Foster carers have the full support of RSPCA vets and animal behaviour staff.

How does the RSPCA select foster carers?

Foster carers are selected based on their ability to provide a home environment that will suit the animal. We strive to place animals in an environment similar to the one that they have known. This reduces the amount of stress for the animal. Before an animal is placed in care, the RSPCA performs a home assessment of the potential foster carer, and arranges a meeting of the carer and animal in a neutral place. We ensure that each foster carer is fully aware of the animal’s needs and have an understanding of the commitment expected.

Additional documentation: Writing a General Bequest to the RSPCA
More information
P  9224 2238
Individual Giving Team

Download RSPCA Bequest Animal Program information brochure

Register with RSPCA Bequest Animal Program

Writing a general bequest to the RSPCA

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