Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners

Do your horses a favor by planning ahead for what should happen to them once you’re gone.
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Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. | Photo: iStock
Most people don’t like to dwell on their own mortality. But do your horses a favor by planning ahead for what should happen to them once you’re gone.

For instance, well-meaning, but ultimately not equine-savvy, family members might think they’re doing the right thing when they turn your easy-keeping pony out in a big grass pasture to live out her days, or send your rescued and rehabilitated pasture pets to find new homes at the same auction you pulled them from years before. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure such your horses don’t end up in this predicament.

At the 31st National Conference on Equine Law, held May 4-5 in Lexington, Kentucky, two attorneys—Shannon Bishop Arvin, JD, and Sarah Sloan Reeves, JD, both of Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, also in Lexington—shared tips on how to make sure your equine interests are handled to your specifications after your passing.

Arvin and Reeves stressed that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning. As such, it’s up to you to decide who will inherit what and when. These are personal decisions you should make after carefully considering the available options, they said. They also suggested working with an estate planner, who can take your wishes and ensure they’re carried out in the most tax-effective way possible

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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