Horse lovers throughout the state of Pennsylvania know how important it is to ensure that their animals are properly cared for. That task is a major commitment and can go on for many years. Few equestrians, however, think about what would happen to their horses in the event that the owner passes away. Including these issues into one's estate planning is important and can make a world of difference in the lives of horses that survive their owners.
Horses are more than just assets; they are loved animals that deserve compassionate care. When a horse owner's family members are not involved in the care of the animals, an issue can arise in the event the owner suddenly dies. While surviving family members may have the best of intentions, the decisions that they make might not be in line with the needs of the animals. This can result in a highly trained and accomplished show horse being put out to pasture in the belief that such a choice offers the animal a comfortable sort of retirement from the show circuit. In reality, a horse that has grown accustomed to the grooming, training and care required for showing would likely find such a transition jarring.
If horses are not expected to remain with one's heirs, the best course of action may be to set up a plan for selling the animals to a new owner who is able and willing to continue their training and care. This can be accomplished through an auction house or brokerage service, but those plans need to be set up in advance. Outlining one's wishes in this regard is the best way to guide heirs in the weeks that follow a loss.
A successful sale can bring in additional wealth for the estate. It can also give beloved horses a new life with an owner who can meet their needs. For many Pennsylvania equestrians, that result is well worth the time and effort it takes to include these matters in the overall estate planning package.
Source: thehorse.com, "Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners", Erica Larson, July 12, 2016