Peggy Hoyt, attorney specializing in estate planning, including for pets

by | Aug 26, 2020

Peggy Hoyt—a veteran Florida attorney whose practice involves estate planning and a host of related areas, including pet planning that ensures pets will be cared for if their owner dies or becomes incapacitated (this interview was tied to August being National Make-A-Will month; today also happens to be National Dog Day)—explains what estate planning is, and why it’s important. Hoyt runs through the downsides and risks of not having an estate plan in place, while also pointing out some differences between fashioning a plan strictly for humans and one that also covers pets. Hoyt offers some ballpark figures for what estate planning for pets might cost, noting the size and complexity of plans can vary greatly, and that there are forms available online and other Do-It-Yourself methods, but cautions that devising an estate plan for “free” in this manner can end up costing someone a great deal of money, if things don’t work out as intended. She notes that the estate planning landscape has shifted considerably in the Covid-19 era, adding her law office is busier than ever, with people eager to create or update estate plans. In a departure from our standard format, partway through this one-on-one interview with Hoyt, I welcomed to the conversation Claudia Labbe, fundraising/public relations chair of YOUR Humane Society SPCA (also known as the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, who provided some important observations and insights, from the standpoint of this no-kill shelter, about the importance of providing for pets in a pet trust. Without that sort of directive, Labbe explains by way of example, a man may drop off at the shelter the diabetic cat that had belonged to his mother, but he’s unwilling or unable to care for the cat—raising the question for Labbe and her colleagues: Is there room at the shelter exception for another cat, and one that has medical needs? And that’s just one animal, one day–but one lacking a pet trust or other directive. Hoyt later addresses Animal Care Trust USA, a nonprofit she founded which can help people with the creation of pet trusts and other documents, on a less costly basis than an estate planning law firm. She also gives some details about “All My Children Wear Fur Coats,” a weekly podcast she hosts, covering various pet topics, animal rescue, and more. (,,,

COMEDY CORNER:  Jim Gaffigan’s “Whales” (portion)  (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Kathleen Edwards’ “Who Rescued Who,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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