I am doing my estate planning and am concerned about how to list responsibilities for my horses in case of my demise. I have a couple family members who are horsey enough to cover tossing grain or leading a horse when I need them to, but no one knowledgeable enough that I would trust them to handle where my horses end up should I no longer be around. I have two good friends who are sisters and very horsey (own several horses, their own small farm, and are very well connected in the horse world) and I'm considering asking them if they would be comfortable with me listing them as being responsible for placing my horses. I do NOT want to potentially burden them with taking on the costs of caring for my animals, but I want someone I can trust being responsible for deciding where they end up, even if that means being euthanized. I'm 24 and healthy and don't PLAN on kicking the bucket anywhere in the near future, but I want to be properly prepared just in case.
For those of you who have done estate planning, how have you handled the topic of your horses? Is anyone here listed as the responsible party for other peoples' horses in their will? What are some things I should consider?
I just did this a couple of months ago. In my will, I named my sister as the responsible person (she is also a horse owner) and set aside a certain amount of money for her use. In a separate letter, which was the way it was recommended to do it, I wrote out what I wanted done with them. I specified that my oldie (25 yrs) be euthanized. The younger one I left the decision of what to do with him up to my sister, but since she lives out of state, I included names and contact information of people who are familiar with my animals (trainer, vet, and farrier, who are all also friends) and who are willing to help her find him a new home if that is what she chooses to do.
mine go to my mom, who rides and loves them. I also have discussed it with my trainer, and should she not want to or not be able to keep them my trainer is to help her rehome them. I trust her to find them good placings, and she knows them very well.
~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
~Vintage Toy Dealer (rememberswhen.us)
Mom to : 1 Horse, 1 Pony, 4 Dogs, 4 Cats, 1 Macaw, 6 (Former) Stepkids
I listed a good friend of mine who is very horsey and has a connection with my gelding. I left her a sum of money and responsibility for my horse.
On the advice of my estate planner, I have my horses going to a person I trust and a max dollar value per year paid by my trustee. Suggestion was not to leave caretaker $$ since they could pocket the $$ and do whatever with the horse. I have all my $ (whatever is left) going into a trust to provide the on-going care.
I have no two-legged dependents, so my intention (which I haven't gotten around to fully setting up) is to make the beneficiary of my life insurance policy a trust. A portion of that trust would be for the care of whatever animals I have at the time, and my insurance is more than adequate to cover all of them for their natural lives, even with some medical problems and such. At this point, I'm down to one horse that I share with a friend, so I would just leave her money for his care. At one point, I have several horses, mostly my elderly retirees with special needs, and in particular one who was a very high maintenance, temperamental, attached to me horse. When he was alive, I had instructions set up that his ownership was to revert to three people I utterly trusted with my life or his, and that they would together make decisions for him - mostly because I knew that he would most likely need to be euthanized shortly after my death, and I didn't want to make any of them solely responsible for the decision, and wanted two of them to be able to outvote one if they thought it was time. Not a perfect system, but I thought it was the best I could do at the time. I ended up outliving him, so it wasn't an issue, but I am confident that they would have done right by him.
Not only do you need to name who will take possession of your horse(s) in the event of your demise, you need to have a plan set up for feeding and care immediately after your death. This must be someone, most likely a close family member, certain to hear immediately when you kick the bucket so that they can tend to them. Give specific written instructions and keep a copy where your horse lives, and give them contact information for your designated horseperson. Without such clear and immediate instructions, those first few days could very likely be disastrous.
Even if you think your wishes are very clear, put them in writing and make it legal. People can be cruel and stupid, especially if they think there is money involved. A friend's mother died and a family member took possession of her beloved toy poodle -- he was certain he could sell the purebred dog for money, but hated dogs and kept him in a cat carrier. Thank goodness his sister was more humane and brought him to us.
We don't think that the kids will want the horses, so we have told them to put them all down if we should die suddenly. Sounds kind of grim, but my horsey friends are mostly older than me, and I SURE don't want our horses "passed along" to folks who won't deal with them as horses have been trained.
I haven't seen any of this "handing them off to good homes" ever ending well for the horses. Not taking the chance of that, so kids have the directions to put them all down and there won't be issues later on. We don't have beginner level horses, they are not good candidates for less than skilled handling.
We are listed as the end caregivers for a friend's horse. We bred and raised him, she purchased him, and asked if we could take him back permanently if anything happened to her. She is putting money into a fund for his care, so only time will be an issue in keeping him here. My other best friend laughed and said she is leaving her 3 animals to me if she gets disabled or dies. I can do whatever I wish with the animals at that time. I expect she will include some money, but if not I can manage them. She does minimal care, they are just pets with run-in sheds. We would have been sisters if we could choose, so they are not a problem.
It's in my will. My executor is responsible, mare is to stay where she is (paid for from my estate), and if she can't stay there as BO may retire, BO or designate is to be paid for help in placing her in retirement home. Normal vet and maintenance ok, but if she needs major surgery or interventions she's to be euthed.
I have a pay on death account that goes to the daughter who has enough land that she could take care of my horse. The money in the pay on death account would pay for his basic expenses, as long as he does not live to be a very old horse. I refer to this account as Parker's account, so both daughters understand that it is for his care.