Drafting to avoid owner disputes in equine contracts
26th Annual National Conference on Equine Law, Embassy Suites, Lexington, Ky., May 4, 2011
Presented by The University of Kentucky College of Law
As lawyers, the importance of a well-written contract for the transfer of a horse or co-ownership of a horse is apparent. All too often, however, transactions occur in the horse industry that are substantiated by nothing more than a handshake and a smile. It is counsel's job to educate clients on the legal perils that they face when business is conducted in this manner.
The existence of owner disputes both in co-ownership and transfer of ownership situations emphasizes the need for equine counsel to seriously consider drafting provisions preventing and addressing ownership disputes at the time the transaction is structured. Counsel should not wait until the dispute occurs. Careful consideration and drafting at the onset can help avoid a dispute or clearly provide a method for resolving a dispute among owners. This article will address considerations in choosing an investment vehicle as well as drafting tips which will help prevent or extricate owners from a difficult situation. There is substantial literature addressing these types of issues. This article does not purport to be exhaustive but will concentrate on common issues and drafting provisions in the context of the multiple ownership of equine assets and transfer of equine assets. The goal is to provoke thought and provide some suggestions to consider in this context.