Brenda Lyle – Hometown News

Q: What Happens to my Pets if I Die?

A: There’s no doubt about it: Pets are part of our families. So it’s not surprising older pet owners worry about what might happen to their pets if they are hospitalized or pass away. Fortunately, there are resources for seniors and their pets.

 What if I am in the hospital?                    

On, owners can find pet sitters to take care of your pet in their home –or by visiting yours each day. Long-term boarding or pet fostering might be an option for extended hospital stays or long periods in rehab.

How do I plan for my pet if I pass away?

There is a specialty branch of law called “Animal Law.” Attorneys like Orlando’s Peggy Hoyt create “pet trusts” that provide for the pet after the owner’s death. According to the Florida Bar Association, “Pet trusts provide pet lovers the peace of mind that comes with knowing one’s pet will be loved and cared for throughout its life.”

Ms. Hoyt is the author of All My Children Wear Fur Coats: How to Leave a Legacy to Your Pet, an informative book for pet owners, available on for $19.95. Her weekly “paw-cast” of the same name features different guests and explores all of the joys and sorrows of pet parenting. Pets cannot legally inherit things, so taking the extra steps to create a “Stand Alone Pet Trust” is important for providing financial support for your pet.

Estate Planning

While we may view pets as being a member of the family, the law sees them as property. Therefore, naming someone to be responsible for your pet after your death and including specific provisions in your Will is an important part of your estate planning. For more information about pet planning, find an elder law attorney at One Senior Place in Viera by calling 321-751-6771 or contact the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC. through One Senior Place in Altamonte Springs.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.