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Caring For Generations

Using Horse Sense in Indiana Estate Planning

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2018 | Equine trusts, horse owners' estate planning, pet trusts

“The Indiana equine industry is an important component of the Indiana economy, a report from Purdue Extension pointed out, serving a variety of needs, including:

  • racing
  • showing (second largest use in Indiana)
  • recreation (largest use in Indiana)
  • work counts the horse population in our state at approximately 140,000. And, “while it may be a dream for you to be able to watch horses graze peacefully outside of your house’s back window, the website cautions, “a lot more goes into it than simply picking out a horse ranch for sale and buying it.”

A lot more also goes into estate planning when it comes to horse ownership. “What happens to your horse in the time between your death and probate of your will?”, attorney Karen L. Perch asks. “Will your wishes regarding care of your horse be enforceable?”.

Since 2005, Indiana residents have had the option of creating a trust for the benefit of pets. The purpose of an equine trust is to make sure that after its owner’s death, a horse continues to enjoy the quality of care to which it is accustomed. One important specialty aspect of our work at Geyer Law is dedicated to helping clients provide for equine pets.

Any equine trust will include several elements:

  • The animal is placed in a revocable (or irrevocable) living trust.
  • A sum of money to support the animal is assigned to the trust.
  • Specific instructions concerning the care of the horse are included in the trust document, including vet visits, and how the horse is to boarded, groomed, and maintained.
  • Instructions specify who is to receive money left over after the animal has died.
  • A person is named to own and take care of the pet in the event of your disability or death.
  • Instructions specify how the beneficiary will take physical possession of the pet.

“Everyone with a horse should have a horse trust in addition to the other estate planning documents,” one Massachusetts estate planning attorney colleague asserts. At Geyer Law, we agree. With our empathetic and compassionate approach, we understand that horse owners feel the need to provide for the ongoing care of pets who have brought pleasure and joy to their lives.