However, I disagree about "paying" people to take care of your "kids". I would never expect to be paid to take care of my BFF's furry kids, nor do my SO and I expect to be paid to take care of our nieces and nephews should the awful occur! If my BFF expected me to pay her on top of covering all of the expenses for my horses, I wouldn't have asked her to do it.
That being said, I pretty much say "take care of them like you would your own". My BFF is a horse owner, so I fully expect them to live a happy life like her mare. She and I live across the country from each other; I have no expectations that my horses wouldn't move to her state, and live at the barn with her mare, which would naturally be a change in care. I didn't put specific care instructions into it like I think MVP was implying.
You are correct: There's no formal need to include pay for trustees.
But you may want to think about something more than "Care for the horse as if he/she were your own." That might be because it turns out that you'd do things just a tad differently from your BFF, or you'd like to spare them some tough decisions. After all, the trustee is an executor of sorts: He/she is simply supposed to carry out what the grantor (the person who formed the trust) wanted. Make that clear *and feasible*; God knows some unforeseen circumstances will arise to muddy the waters.
In my case, that's because I have unusually high standards about euthanasia. E. g. most people wait for the standard "can't keep weight on, gets that far a way look," while I'd pull the plug at "can't lie down anymore and is falling asleep on his feet" or "is getting chased by the pasture mates and looks worried or beat up all the time."
Also, I think my trustees (great friends and very good horse people) might feel guilty about not going to the ends of the earth for their dead buddy's horse. For an oldie, I'd do "no vet treatments that can't be done on the farm." So I'd specify that so that my buds didn't have to agonize.
Do you have a retirement farm (or 3) that you'd like the horse sent to?
Or what if you have a great young horse that a friend might like to flip? Do you have an opinion about that?
The beauty of a trust is that you can specify any details you'd like, so long as they are legal. The beauty of a good trust attorney is that he/she can advise you on what conditions are likely to be enforceable.
Wow, this has been an awesome, awesome thread and I want to thank everyone for their terrific responses. You all have given me a lot to think about.
Here's what I'm kicking around - we are naming both a guardian and a trustee for our minor child, both relatives. The guardian to actually take her in and the trustee to manage the estate and provide income to the guardian and hold the estate in trust for kiddo until she reaches a certain age. However, there are no relatives that are also horse people, so there's no overlap there.
But for the horse, I'm wondering if I need that arrangement? I'm more inclined to let the trustee and the guardian be the same person, a horse person friend. It's a relatively small amount of money, and if someone agrees to take beloved horse and give him a nice retirement, and beloved horse only lives a short time before colicing or breaking a leg, I don't really have a hard time with them keeping the lump sum. I don't want to dictate that the money would then revert to the estate, I kinda think they'd be entitled to it. Am I being a cock-eyed optimist?
I am going to approach both friends in the next couple of weeks, make the proposal to them, and 1.) ask them if they'd be willing and 2.) if so, what they'd need and what their preferences would be. Both are people I would absolutely trust with euthanasia and veterinary decisions, I know their way of thinking about these things is similiar to my own. However, this language "For an oldie, I'd do 'no vet treatments that can't be done on the farm.'" is perfect.
And frankly, I would rather have the horse euthanized than sold to an unsuitable home or on that truck to Mexico. I laughed at the example, above, of someone deciding that a 15 year old open broodmare was worth big dollars, but I guess it could happen.
I *think* my family knows that the value for all three animals is entirely in the pleasure they give me, and that while someone else might take similar pleasure in the guest horse or pony, the pleasure I take in the my horse is an idiosyncracy, but it's probably a good idea to make that clear as well.
Please keep the thoughts and ideas coming.
I'm a great believer in that the better prepared I am for this, the more likely it is that I will outlive these horses, and that they'll have a happy retirement under my care.
At the very least, you need to name a trustee and at least one successor trustee, should #1 become incapacitated or dead.
Also, it might help if you outlined some retirement places or criteria for choosing those to help any of your trustees out. After all, things can change in that person's life such that they can't keep your horse with them.
It's a good idea to talk to everyone, let them ask questions and *listen* to their ideas or reservations. I tend to watch what horsemen do with their own horses and others' over time. That tells me a lot about what their default action might be for my horse with me gone.
As to the non-horsing family? It helps there, too, to let them know what you'd like for your horses. The great thing about a trust is that it gets done what you'd like, or leaves like-minded people in charge of the details. If you have legal means set up to do that, you don't have to depend on your family trying to get up to speed in their horsey education or at second-guessing what you'd do in some random situation no one predicted.
Let us know what else you learn as you go forward with rigging this up.