12/05/2010

Estate Planning Concepts At The Movies - Secretariat

I am an avid horse racing fan so I was very excited to see the movie Secretariat

I knew about Secretariat’s amazing Triple Crown win and his unprecedented victory at the Belmont Stakes.  At the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat won by 31 lengths and set a track record.  This is a record that has not been beat yet.  However, I was unaware of the story behind the family farm which trained Secretariat.

The Tweedy Family which owned Secretariat set-up an Estate Plan which specified that their daughter Penny Tweedy-Chenery would have control of the racehorses, and that their son would have control of the family farm, upon their death.  The rationale for this distribution was that Penny understood the horses and would know how to manage them.  At an early age, Penny showed an aptitude for understanding horses and recognizing talent.  Thus, the family left the care of the racehorses to her and not to her only other sibling.   

This simple story made me think of my clients.  It is an example of how a person can plan to distribute their assets to the child, relative or friend who will cherish the asset and make the best use of them.  Here, Penny’s parents made a wise decision. 

Under Penny’s management, Secretariat become one of the most successful racehorses in history.  Secretariat set track records for the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5) and the Belmont Stakes (2:24).  These are records which have not been beat yet.  Secretariat became an icon and a beloved American racehorse.  Secretariat is one of the most famous horses in racehorse history. 

Arguably, Secretariat would not have accomplished this fame if it had not been for the tenacity and vision of Penny Tweedy-Chenery.  Thus, the lesson learned is that a well planned and executed Estate Plan can make all the difference!