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Do you have anything about your horses in your last will and testament?

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  • Do you have anything about your horses in your last will and testament?

    And if you do, what are your plans? Hubby and I are completing our Legal Zoom will and we know we need to make provisions for all of the dang horses, but where to start?!?! I feel like anyone who gets stuck with the horse responsibility really gets 'stuck'. What is standard? Does everyone have a plan for their horses if the worst should happen? If so, can you share so that I have some idea where to start?! Thanks!!!

  • #2
    As a now stay at home, "retired" attorney, I preface by stating that you should always have your legal documents reviewed by an attorney. Not every "do it yourself" kit is all it should be.

    That disclaimer out of the way, I made a provision in my will for any horses, truck and trailer and a percentage of the estate to pay for said beasts to go to a good friend who is aware of this.
    RIP Mydan Mydandy+
    RIP Barichello

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    • #3
      pm'd you

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      • #4
        I'm working on this and I started a thread you might find helpful about wills and trusts. Oops! Can't make the search engine find it now.

        Anywho...

        As I understand it, a will grants ownership of your animals to the person you name. They have free rein to do as they see fit with 'em.

        A trust is a different kind of vehicle that gets someone (or a few people) to care for your animals as you would. It comes with money.

        So.... you write a will that dedicates X dollars to the trust and then create the trust.

        IMO, you do need an attorney to help you put together a trust that will do the job for your animals.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

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        • #5
          My aunt and uncle did this for their animals and my cousin (who is disabled and not able to look after himself) - you need to pick someone you really feel comfortable talking with to manage the trust, too. Like they asked me to manage the animals (dogs and cats) and so every so often we have a sit down to talk about who is in what kind of health and if they'd be comfortable having X put down versus re-homed, etc. (Usually I wouldn't put a healthy animal to sleep, but some of their animals over the years have been quite elderly or otherwise dealing with major chronic health issues so there's always the question of how they'd handle the stress of losing their 'family' and so on.) I also go to the vet with her on routine visits every so often - we don't use the same vet since she's not really local, so it means that her vet knows who I am (and she has a good relationship with her vet) so if something did happen, it's not like running around contacting random people to find out what's up with this animal and who should I be talking to, etc.

          One of my horse owning friends has something set up also for her two horses but I'm not sure of the details.

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          • #6
            Um, let's see... I'm a lawyer who drafts wills as part of my job... yet my own will is still in rough draft stage...

            I agree with the disclaimer above, do not rely on a wills kit. Your will may not be valid, and your family could be put through some expensive and distressing legal wrangling if that is the case.

            As far as my horses: I have a life insurance policy and I have named my sister (who is horsey, but doesn't own/ride) as the beneficiary. I trust her to carry out my wishes. I told her to use the money to look after the horses if she wanted, or keep one for herself in my memory. I trust her to sell them to good homes if that is what is best. In that case, she would split the life insurance amongst my close family.

            What I plan to put in my will is a clause that names my sister (and maybe an alternate) as the beneficiary of the horses, to do as she sees fit.

            I part-own one horse and the other owner and I have a contract which states the ownership is joint; meaning if one of us dies, the other becomes the sole owner of the horse.
            Blugal

            You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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            • #7
              While anyone can die any time, if you, as I do, have a tricky heart, that may quit any time, you learn that to provide for if something happens to you is very important.

              Two of my better friends are attorneys and so I have always had a good, current will.
              Even if you have a will now, if it is, say, older than 10 years, do check it over, as your life may have changed or the laws may have.
              With periodic reviews of your will, you at times may need a new one, or you can add a codicil to your existing one, reflecting any smaller changes.
              That is a good time to also reflect on your life, what you like and what you may want to change.

              Everything of mine is covered in the will, including any animals I may have.

              Also important is to have all your paperwork in order, registered horses transferred in your name, don't put that off.

              Have well trained animals and don't hoard, but have the animals you can care for and anyone else will want to have around.
              No one will know what to do with the project horse/s you got when young and didn't get around to work with and now are sitting in a back pasture, waiting for you to get around to it some day.
              Keep your horses current in their basic care and training and good records of every one of them.

              I would think that using an attorney where you are, that knows the local laws, would be a no brainer when it comes to wills.
              The cost of preparing a basic will is minimal.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                I really appreciate all of your responses...Thank you! All of our kids are very broke and would *theoretically* be resale-able, but one is already a senior citizen and I don't anticipate selling any of the others - so eventually they will all be beyond resale age. Does anyone have a provision for the trust to pay a retirement facility? I am really struggling with what will happen to the older guy(s).

                MVP- I tried to search every which way and couldn't find anything either. I was sure there was a thread like this at some point - there are enough responsible worriers on this board that I would think others would have had questions pertaining to this as well. If you run across your thread, please let me know!

                As to the Legal Zoom vs. a lawyer. I met with an attorney who wanted $4000 to setup my will and trust?!?!?! I told her that was really high! I met with another lawyer who wanted around he same - mostly they said it was super complicated because of the dang horses. That sounded ridiculous to me and an attorney friend told us that the Legal Zoom will and trust would work just as well? Should I use legal zoom and then have an attorney review it? Is that even an option? I don't want to cheap out and then regret it later, but we are talking thousands of dollars for *theoretically* the same product...And Legal Zoom has lawyers on hand who go over everything with customers, or at least that is the point I've reached in the process.

                Thanks again for all of the information and the AWESOME PM with the specific language.

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                • #9
                  My will states that my friend gets Henny, she also gets any funds in my accounts to help cover his costs. This is all made easier by the fact that he now lives on her farm. Truck to be sold, etc funds going to her. Also states who gets my gear, blankets and supplies.
                  I have to add something about the cats....
                  Proud owner of a member of the Formerly Limping And Still Majestic Equine Society

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                  • #10
                    I don't have one yet (a will), but when I die, if I still have horses, I want them euthanized.
                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by showidaho View Post
                      I really appreciate all of your responses...Thank you! All of our kids are very broke and would *theoretically* be resale-able, but one is already a senior citizen and I don't anticipate selling any of the others - so eventually they will all be beyond resale age. Does anyone have a provision for the trust to pay a retirement facility? I am really struggling with what will happen to the older guy(s).

                      MVP- I tried to search every which way and couldn't find anything either. I was sure there was a thread like this at some point - there are enough responsible worriers on this board that I would think others would have had questions pertaining to this as well. If you run across your thread, please let me know!

                      As to the Legal Zoom vs. a lawyer. I met with an attorney who wanted $4000 to setup my will and trust?!?!?! I told her that was really high! I met with another lawyer who wanted around he same - mostly they said it was super complicated because of the dang horses. That sounded ridiculous to me and an attorney friend told us that the Legal Zoom will and trust would work just as well? Should I use legal zoom and then have an attorney review it? Is that even an option? I don't want to cheap out and then regret it later, but we are talking thousands of dollars for *theoretically* the same product...And Legal Zoom has lawyers on hand who go over everything with customers, or at least that is the point I've reached in the process.

                      Thanks again for all of the information and the AWESOME PM with the specific language.
                      That amount may be right if you want to set up trusts and such.
                      For a basic will, that is many times too much.

                      I would say on the lower end of a few hundred dollars at most.
                      My last will costs $60 and adding a codicil some years later cost $120.

                      A will that just states your wishes, doesn't has anything complicated, should really not be but a couple hundred dollars, with registering it in the courthouse and all that.

                      I would not use any kind of trust for simple matters.
                      Consider finding someone you trust to take care of your animals and tell them what you want them to do and leave them money to do so.
                      My very old horses are provided for like that.

                      I think that wills get complicated when you want to have someone oversee whoever you entrust with your wishes for your kids or animals.
                      That is when legal trusts come into place.
                      Fine with kids, for animals? A bit of an overkill.
                      Surely you trust whoever you designate, or you would not have designated them to inherit your animals and money for their care.

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                      • #12
                        if anything happens to me, there is a signed, legal document in my house (only my friend knows where its at) that sells my horses (and all their tack, including the truck and trailer) to a very good a friend of mine for $1 each. She has instructions on how to care for them, and options for her if she needs them

                        all she has to do is sign and date the document and my horses are legally hers, no longer part of my "estate"

                        my son knows the amount of money from my estate that goes to her for their care

                        - NOTE: she is someone ive known for a LONG time (I think over 10 years) and who I trust 110% and will always trust.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jumpin_Horses View Post
                          if anything happens to me, there is a signed, legal document in my house (only my friend knows where its at) that sells my horses (and all their tack, including the truck and trailer) to a very good a friend of mine for $1 each. She has instructions on how to care for them, and options for her if she needs them

                          all she has to do is sign and date the document and my horses are legally hers, no longer part of my "estate"

                          my son knows the amount of money from my estate that goes to her for their care

                          - NOTE: she is someone ive known for a LONG time (I think over 10 years) and who I trust 110% and will always trust.
                          That may not hold in court and may get your friend in trouble if she lies about the timeframe.
                          Run that by an attorney to be sure it won't be questioned and leaves your horses in legal limbo until the estate is settled.

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                          • #14
                            I have named my best friend (horsey person) as "guardian" and left her enough money to adequately take care of them until they're a ripe old age. My husband is non-horsey, so it's unfair to leave them with him. Both are aware of the situation.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                              That may not hold in court and may get your friend in trouble if she lies about the timeframe.
                              Run that by an attorney to be sure it won't be questioned and leaves your horses in legal limbo until the estate is settled.
                              yep, did.. it will hold up

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                              • #16
                                I was thinking about starting a thread on this just last week. Its' great info. DH and I are updating our wills in December and I was wondering what everybody else did with their horses.

                                Willow will, more than likely, go back to her breeder if DH isn't around. I'm not sure about funds though. How much is enough to leave to care for her?

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Superminion View Post
                                  I was thinking about starting a thread on this just last week. Its' great info. DH and I are updating our wills in December and I was wondering what everybody else did with their horses.

                                  Willow will, more than likely, go back to her breeder if DH isn't around. I'm not sure about funds though. How much is enough to leave to care for her?
                                  The how much they will cost in years to come is hard because there are all sorts of unforeseen costs (vet bills, facility, etc) that are hard to guestimate. We found a retirement facility that looked legit (fingers crossed) and used their pricing as a general guide...but it's nearly impossible to know.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                    I think that wills get complicated when you want to have someone oversee whoever you entrust with your wishes for your kids or animals.
                                    That is when legal trusts come into place.
                                    Fine with kids, for animals? A bit of an overkill.
                                    Surely you trust whoever you designate, or you would not have designated them to inherit your animals and money for their care.
                                    Might there be inheritance/estate stuff (taxes and so on) that's different if it's set up as a trust vs just a will where the beneficiary takes ownership?

                                    Just wondering why some folks have clearly picked a trust vs 'simple' inheritance.

                                    What happens with a trust if the person named to take it on is unable to do so when it comes time?

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                                    • #19
                                      My husband & I have a attachment to our will that strictly deals with our horses, truck & trailer. The truck, trailer & 2 horses will go to his brother, and my horses will go to a good friend. That has been discussed with those people and we update as horses, or vehicles are bought or sold. To keep things simple, there is no money involved, because all our horses have value and can be sold if that's their wish OR they can't keep them. As of now, they have value to those people and we trust them to do what's best at the time. Makes me feel better knowing we have that in place and our family is also aware of it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                                        I don't have one yet (a will), but when I die, if I still have horses, I want them euthanized.
                                        Really?? Are they older horses who no longer have quality of life ahead of them? I don't understand why you would put down young healthy horses instead of line up a suitable home for them.
                                        At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
                                        (Author Unknown)

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