Estate Planning: It’s Nothing to Horse Around With

DressageMy sister-in-law owns horses; very talented American Quarter horses that compete in dressage competitions.  With an estate planning attorney in the family, she’s created a plan for her the care and feeding of her horses if she becomes incapacitated and when she dies  – have you?

Your horses’ future can be challenging to formulate, but it’s important for a successful transition and for determining and specifying with precision what you want. Selecting a responsible person to be in charge who will make wise decisions for your horse is key. Some racehorses may be sold, which can be done through private sales or at an auction and might result in a greater amount of money for your estate. However, retired or special needs horses might be more difficult to sell or place in good homes. Some owners leave money for their care and designate a beneficiary to receive the horse and those funds.

Similarly, it’s important to be specific regarding who will inherit your belongings. You’ll need to be able to assign an accurate value on items like trophies, saddles and farm equipment.

As far as your land is concerned, you might want to ensure that the property doesn’t end up becoming a shopping mall. A good way to do this is with what is called a conservation easement. This is a legal agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development on the land. Conservation easements are helpful in that they include income tax and land preservation benefits. On the downside, the easement can decrease the land’s value and make it more difficult to sell. This limits the potential of its future use.

Negotiating conservation easements can also be complicated, so work with an attorney who is familiar with them to evaluate whether this might be a good option for your estate and your legacy.

If you own an equine business, you need to decide what you want the future of the business to be when you pass away. A qualified estate planning attorney can help you decide what to do and then address all of the related issues.

Once you’ve decided what you want to do when you die, you need to get it in writing. Request a complimentary consultation online so that you can spend the time you need with with us or a qualified estate planning attorney in your area to discuss your individual situation to see which options will work best for you. We can help you make sure that your horses, your land and your other assets are handled according to your wishes.

Reference: thehorse.com (July 17, 2016) “Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners”


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.