Q. What is Equine Law?
A. Equine law can be described as a general practice of legal matters geared towards a particular clientele. Equine law includes all legal aspects of the horse industry and related businesses. Horses are unique in that they can be considered under the law property (personal or livestock), a vehicle, an athlete, an investment and others. Equine law work includes trainers, riders, owners, vets, farriers, associations, etc., in contract law, international law, litigation, insurance, liability and tax.
Q. WHat Type of equine law services do you offer?
A. Equine law services include: contract drafting, negotiations, pre-purchase and sales agreements, boarding agreements, disputes and litigation related to horse transactions and injuries, tax and immigration issues for horse industry workers, animal rights matters, liability waivers, insurance fraud, and tax audits.
Q. WHY DO I NEED AN EQUINE LAWYER?
A. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give a client who is horse shopping is to be as proactive as possible. Paper your contracts, hash-out the nuts and bolts prior to transferring the horse. Things in the industry are changing, do not be caught one-step behind because you took something on faith that could’ve been avoided if you had expended the resources up-front to negotiate and execute a contract. Your horse farm may also get audited by the IRS and you will need an equine tax attorney to represent your business interests against the IRS.
Q.WHY Do I Need An Estate Planning Attorney?
A. Estate planning forms are all over the internet, however fill-and-print forms will not properly protect your assets. Effective estate planning documents require careful consideration of tax impacts, asset protection plans, inheritance goals, and healthcare directives. Estate planning is not a set-it and forget it service, your documents require consistent attention to ensure the assets and wealth you work your entire life to acquire are protected and pass to your beneficiaries as intended.
Q. I have a Will, What Other Estate Planning Documents Do I need?
A. A will, especially a fillable form downloaded from the internet or a "will kit" software package, is often not enough to ensure your assets are fluidly transferred to your heirs in the event of incapacity or death. The state and federal laws that govern wills and the winding up of an estate are very complex; it is better to have an attorney prepare a customized estate plan after reviewing your financial and tax positions.
Q. When Should I consider setting up a living Trust?
A. There is not set asset level for which a living trust becomes necessary. In California, probate is an arduous and expensive process so even if you feel like your estate is relatively simple, a living trust can save your family a lot of time and expenses when you pass. Besides avoiding probate, a living trust can provide creditor protection for the inheritance you leave to your beneficiaries. A living trust can be used for all types of property and offers the broad planning flexibility of a will with asset protection and estate tax benefits that a will does not.
Q. WhY SHoUlD I SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY tO SET-UP A Living Trust over a Will?
A Will or Testamentary Trust, although less expensive than a living trust, provides limited protection for your pet for numerous reasons. First, because a Will/Testamentary Trust only takes effect after your death, your pets are left in limbo should you become incapacitated. Wills also need to be probated, meaning while your pet requires immediate care, the resources you allocated to provide this care can be tied up for months or even years. Also, any instructions pertaining to the standard of care for your pet are unenforceable in a Will. A pet trust ensures uninterrupted care for your pets by a caretaker of your choosing and with enforceable instructions on how your pet should be cared for. You can include preferences for veterinary care, farriers, boarding facilities, and other specifications to ensure your pet maintains a happy and healthy lifestyle in the event of incapacity or death.