Trusts Help Provide Care for Horses when Owners Cannot

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Ken Chin knew nothing about horse-keeping when he inherited 13 Arabian horses from his cousin. Fortunately, his local horse community stepped in to help him care for the animals and later to place them in quality homes. But a trust fund established for the animals' care would have made the task easier and more efficient, Chin said.

“My cousin planned to establish a trust for the horses, but she passed away before she could get to it,” Chin said. “The horses and I would have been better off if she had done it in time.”

Attorney John Compton said equine trusts are useful tools to make sure horses receive proper care if their owners die or become incapacitated. These trusts allow owners to dictate every aspect of their horses' care, Compton said. Terms of the trust name the horse’s caregiver, if and where it will be boarded, and generally establish a specific standard of living for the animal, he said. Owners can dictate what feed and supplements the horse receives, as well as the animal's daily exercise routine and whether and how often a trainer will work with the horse. Trust terms can also spell out who will provide veterinary, dental, and farrier care and how often, and can determine the disposition of the horse's remains, Compton said.

“The trust should also name the trustee and the successor trustee, as well as the caregiver and the successor caregiver,” Compton said. “Information identifying the horse and appropriate liability insurance information should also be included

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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