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How to protect horses within a Tennessee estate

The practice of owning, training, racing and showing horses is deeply ingrained in Tennessee history. Horse lovers often spare no expense in caring for their animals and, over the course of time, amass a considerable amount of wealth in the form of their horses and their equipment. When creating an estate plan, it is important to address these assets and to make plans for the ultimate disposition of the animals.

Often, a horse owner's loved ones are not involved in the care of the animals and are not part of the equestrian world. That can lead to problems when those family members inherit horses. Without the proper guidance, they may make decisions for the animals that they believe are best, but that are not in line with the horse's needs. An example is turning a highly skilled and trained show horse out to pasture for the remainder of its life, or selling one or more horses to a new owner who is not equipped to properly care for the animals.

The best way to prevent such an outcome is to outline one's wishes within an estate plan. If selling the horses is the best course of action, some owners take comfort in selecting the auction house or service that will handle that sale. This can help ensure that the best price is obtained, which brings more money into the estate. It can also help avoid a sale to a party that is unable or unwilling to give the horses the care and attention that they need to thrive.

Tennessee horse owners have a number of options when it comes to providing for their animals in an estate plan. What is important is to think through those options well in advance and to take action to create a plan. Doing so will make things easier for surviving loved ones, as well as the animals that have brought so much positivity into the lives of their owners.  

Source:, "Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners", Erica Larson, July 12, 2016

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