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Taking care of your animals
Kat Swigart brings up a very good point.
First off, I AM NOT A LAWYER.. So, to all the flamers out there who are
about to jump up and demonstrate their superiority over me by squealing that I
haven't a clue what I am talking about..you're absolutely right, that's why I
hired a lawyer to draw up my will and powers of attorney. This isn't legal
advice!! It's just advice, take it or leave it as you wish.
Animals are considered chattel, meaning they are property of the estate. Even
worse, while cats and dogs are "pets', horses are "livestock". (I know, I
When you die, your livestock becomes just so much property that must be
'liquidated' to pay taxes and distribute the rest to the people you choose to
leave the money to.
If you die without a will, you are effectively leaving the distribution of
your estate to the state. The state takes its cuts without worrying about
niceties such as "this gelding completed 3000 miles".
The fastest and most effective, and probably the most profitable way of
turning non- breeding livestock into money is by selling them for meat. (I
mean "our" horses..if you have a horse worth a couple hundred thousand
dollars, you are smart enough to have a will to cover what happens to him..).
No probate lawyer is going to spend the time, effort and money to find a
home, a GOOD home, for a horse, no matter how talented or well trained he may
be. (Your geriatric dog? Your finicky, I love only mom cat? pfft...if there's
no will, guess where they end up? The pound......Ask pet sitters what their
two worst fears are...).
I know how most people feel about lawyers...but for the sake of your animals,
get a Will!!!! When I had my will drawn up, I had a "Letter of Intent" drawn
up with it. It states VERY precisely what happens to any and all of my
animals. I state very specifically that NONE go to auction. If all else fails,
if none of my survivors want them, I stated that my vet put them down. And
their ashes go along with mine.......
No, this is NOT pleasant. But you must plan for it. Do you want your animals
to pay the price for your 'neglect"? Never mind what your family is going to
have to go through...
WHile we're on the subject, my barnlord has a limited power of attorney on my
horses. If we're away for a day or a week, he has very specific instructions
on what to do should my horses and other animals need veterinary care. In it,
I set a specific amount of money I am willing to pay for emergency vet care,
what he needs to do should my vet say the horse needs to be put down, and what
happens to the horse after he's put down. This protects everyone..me, my
horse, my vet, my barnlord. While we're away, I call my barnlord every night
(I don't even do that for my mother....!!)
Following is my personal opinion, and here the arsonists can flame away:
Anyone who dies without a will is, in my not so humble opinion, irresponsible
and neglectful. You are NOT going to live for ever, I don't care who you are,
and pretending it isn't going to happen, and therefore, neglecting to have a
will drawn up, is only going to cause a great deal of heartache for whomever
you leave behind.
Michelle and Jordan the wonder horse, who was rescued at the auction because
someone died without a will.........lucky for him and luckiest of all, for
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