A pet trust, which ensures care for the horse if the owner gets sick or dies, is often the best way to ensure the horse’s care.
Trusts can be remarkably powerful tools to provide for all members of the family, especially the ones most in need of care. This includes four-legged family members that stand “16 hands tall” and are adept at dressage. Yes, trusts can be an essential part of your “horse care” plan, as recently highlighted in The Wall Street Journal article, Stable Value: Putting Your Horse In A Trust.
Horses are not “pets” in the classical sense, as their needs are far greater than those of the family dog or cat. Not only does a horse enjoy a longer life-span, but horses require more wide open spaces, exercise, care, grooming and food. The upkeep on a horse can be rather expensive.
Through a pet trust you can set aside sufficient funds to provide for your horse’s unique needs and ensure his care and safety should you predecease him. Even more significant, you can establish important safeguards to ensure proper deployment of those funds.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges is selecting the proper caretaker of your horse. Would a trusted loved one be willing to serve? Do not assume that charities, shelters or “rescues” would step in to care for your horse. Recent financial difficulties affecting the broader economy have likewise strained the ability for charities and horse shelters to care for horses currently under their care.
Unfortunately, pet trusts are not recognized in every state, but the problem still remains. If you are a horse owner, then your horse is an important member of your family and you must plan accordingly.
To learn more about your state laws and the alternatives open to you (and your horse), be sure to seek competent counsel.
For more information and ideas I recommend reading the original Wall Street Journal article. Be sure to share it with your equestrian friends, too.
Reference: The Wall Street Journal (March 7, 2012) “Stable Value: Putting Your Horse in a Trust”
Holden Campbell, LLC - Annapolis Estate Planning Attorneys