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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I am not sure that this is the correct post for this topic. Please forgive if it is. I am looking for guidance & some information.

Recently, a boarder unexpectedly passed away & left no instructions/will for her horse. The family has expressed intentions to care for and/or rehome the horse. Because of the economy I am concerned that good intentions will disintegrate once the bills pile up with the added expense of a horse. I have yet to receive this month's boarding fee, but I also want to be patient during this time of bereavement.

I am not sure what is appropriate/legal for me to do in this situation. I had a contract (by equine legal solutions) with the deceased boarder. I want to make sure this horse is cared for but cannot solely take on the added financial responsibility, myself. This is a very sensitive economy and I no room to go over budget.

Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? What should I be doing? I would like to have a game plan for the "worst case scenario". I could use some feedback/input/guidance.

I find myself struggling between wanting to care for this horse and the reality that it is beyond my means at this time.

Thank you so much for your help.
 

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Wow, that's touchy. Has anyone been by the barn to check on the horse? Did she have any type of will? Someone (will or not) should be stepping up to act as an executor for her estate. I would politely make a phone call to that person and explain that someone needs to be aware of the horse's schedule of care (farrier, shots, worming, etc). If you are able to schedule a meeting with someone, you can provide them with a copy of the boarding agreement at that time. Of course sensitivity is extremely important, but I worry that if you don't speak with them, they will let it go and hope that they can just forget about the horse and leave him for you to care for.

On a side note, this is a good reminder for everyone and the reason that I have stipulations in a short will for ALL of my animals!
 

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While I can sympathize with you and especially the horse, I'm unclear as to what your role is with the horse. Are you the barn owner or a share boarder?

As for the horse, I would certainly contact the family and find out who the executor of the estate is. Even if there is no executor, someone has to be in charge as to the distribution of the estate. That would be the place to start. If no one is going to step up to take care of the horse and bills are mounting up, then a lien should be placed against the horse to cover anyone's loss.

It's an awful situation that should have been anticipated.
 

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We did have this happen. Boarder with two horses was killed in a car accident. As Iridehorses said, the executor for the estate steps in and handles all bills. Things may get a bit behind as there is paperwork to go through and verification will need to be made.

A good reminder for all of us to have something in writing as to what we would like to happen with our horses in the event of an untimely passing. I do have a horse that was willed to me by his former owner. He did tell me so I was not suprised or shocked when he passed and I had a 'new' horse.
 

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One additional note, since we're on the subject, I also have money set aside from my life insurance for care and expenses for my animals. I.e., the person I selected who gets Danny (and each of my other pets) also gets $XX for his care. I just want to be sure that they aren't dumped on someone who is not financially able to care for them properly.
 

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One additional note, since we're on the subject, I also have money set aside from my life insurance for care and expenses for my animals. I.e., the person I selected who gets Danny (and each of my other pets) also gets $XX for his care. I just want to be sure that they aren't dumped on someone who is not financially able to care for them properly.
Excellent thought. I might add that the person who you will your horse (or other animals) to, also be willing and knowledgeable of giving proper care to that animal.

But ..... we are getting off target!
 

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I wanted to throw this out but the lady I housesit for has written a book called "All My Children Wear Fur Coats" by Peggy Hoyt. It is about this very subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all of your replies. I am the owner/operator of the facility where the horse is boarded.

All of the above steps have been taken as far as contacting the executor of the estate...with whom I have spoken with at the memorial and over the phone. I am (of course) wanting the family to have time to greive & get their affairs in order.

I have made copies of the contract & included bills to date...this will be sent to the executor (fed-ex), after an acceptable time. My contracts are not open-ended and are very detailed as they were drawn up by equine lawyers. In the contract, is named a family member (in case of emergency) who is acting as the executor.

All of this does not guarantee interaction and/or involvement on behalf of the executor. A lien only works if someone cares & wants this horse, but, is necessary. I understand (in my state) that I am required to keep the horse for 90 days after contract termination. But, this is not an eviction case. This is a death.

I was hoping to hear from people who actually went through this and how they handled this conversation with the family or executor.

My goal is to handle this situation with tact, patience and to find the best available situation for the horse. I am hoping to not have to resort to legal avenues.

As it stands now, I think the best I can do is to keep all of my paperwork in order, keep the lines of communication open, and continue to try to find a home for this boy if he is abandoned. Time will tell and for now, although I am concerned as to what will happen, I do not want to be intrusive to the family.

Thank you for all of your responses and I agree, it is very important to leave distinct instructions for the care of your horse, in which all parties are aware of. However, things do not always play out as we antipate...no matter how prepared we are :cry:
 

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Have you contacted your attorney? I would recommend a quick call to them to ensure you are doing whatever you are required to do in this situation. Keeping everything documented is really important. Your attorney should be able to tell you what your options are in the various scenarios that could arise from this.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Of course sensitivity is extremely important, but I worry that if you don't speak with them, they will let it go and hope that they can just forget about the horse and leave him for you to care for.
This is what I am most worried about.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Have you contacted your attorney? I would recommend a quick call to them to ensure you are doing whatever you are required to do in this situation. Keeping everything documented is really important. Your attorney should be able to tell you what your options are in the various scenarios that could arise from this.
That is exactly what needs to be done. This family, will no doubt be going through a range of emotions (especially b/c this was so unexpected & rightfully so) and I really do not want to ignite the inevitable process.

Thank you, you have been spot on!

I wanted to give it a week (since the memorial service) and then resume contact. Is that too long, too short? Perhaps, a question for the lawyer?

I am very concerned about the horse as well as the family & want to handle this as correcltly as possible. Thank you.
 

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I'm so thankful I haven't gone through this one yet... I hope I never do.

Step 1 would be to contact the executor with copies of the contract in tow. (Sounds like you've done this). With these documents I would also write a letter with condolences and with out mentioning the possibility of repo explain that the horse has farrier, shots, worming or what have you coming up and your concerned for the horse's care.. offer to over-see these things and they can just include those fees with the board. After-all I'm sure the deceased would want her horse to be care for.

Also ask what their intentions are with the horse. Do they plan to sell him? Continue boarding him? If they want to sell him offer your services so they don't have to deal with it. Sell the horse take your board and commission off the top. You should know what their intentions are so you can prepare NOW rather than later. If they intend to keep the horse, suggest a lease option to cover the horses expenses for now.

If the funeral is past, I think its safe to persue your business with them. After-all it's a loss for you too... I would be immensely sad if one of my boarders passed away even some of the crazy ones. Not to mention, you have bills too.. Business doesn't have to be cold and in-personal.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, starlinesstables....I agree, business does not have to be cold or impersonal. Thank you for your support.

Even the best of intentions can yield poor results...that is what I am preparing for.......
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update to OP

We have a meeting scheduled on Saturday morning with the family of the deceased and a potential adopting family. Keeping fingers crossed that we will find a correct forever home for this horse.
 
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