Vermont Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lawyer Joke

Q: What is the difference between a lawyer and a boxing referee?
A: A boxing referee doesn't get paid more for a longer fight.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Firm Team Has New Faces

Our team at Jarrett & Luitjens has changed a bit, and we are excited to introduce some new professionals to you.  In addition to partners Glenn Jarrett and Jennifer Luitjens, our team of attorneys includes Geraldine Stewart and our newest addition, Julie Hoyt.   Holly, Sue, and Emilie continue to anchor the firm, and we now welcome Erica to our team of professional, dedicated, and experienced staff.  We hope to host a safe, outdoor event soon so that you can meet our newest faces, so stay tuned!


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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Are 2 or More Fiduciaries Better Than One?

There is no denying that choosing a fiduciary—the individual or entity responsible for another’s financial affairs—is a difficult decision.  Who is the best choice for Executor of your will, or Trustee of your trust?  These fiduciaries are entrusted with your estate and expected to fulfill your wishes about the  management and distribution of your remaining funds upon your death.  Your attorney requests a name and an alternate or two, but you want everyone to serve together.  How can you possibly narrow down the field when you want to name 2 or more individuals to the position? Following are some tips to aid you in that decision:

(1) Courts Are Operating at Maximum Efficiency, so They Embrace a Challenge.  Why not name 3 or 4 Co-Executors?  Probate Court is a well-oiled machine, especially with its new electronic filing system, so it will embrace all the extra filings, signatures, and notices that will be required with numerous Executors.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Lawyer Joke

Diogenes went to look for an honest lawyer.  “How’s it going?”, someone asked.  “Not too bad,” said Diogenes.  “I still have my lantern.”


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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Golfing4Life 2021

After having to cancel our 2020 tournament, we are happy to announce that the 5th Golfing4Life Tournament will be held July 21st at the Links at Lang Farm.  Jarrett & Luitjens is a proud co-host to this tournament that raises about $10,000 for the Cancer Patient Support Foundation’s Emergency Fund.  The Emergency Fund supports the needs of Vermont cancer patients and their families.  To join the fun and support this worthy cause, contact Holly Keough at holly@vtelaw.
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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Change of Mind, Change of Estate Plan

Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus maintained that change is the only constant in nature.   Modern times continue to demonstrate that change is inevitable, and human behavior models that same understanding.  In the area of estate planning, attorneys strive to draft plans that are flexible, withstand passage of time, and anticipate certain life changes.  Planning for a client’s change of mind is a bit trickier, but that is why most plans are revocable, amendable, or replaceable.

It’s a bit ironic when someone signs a “Last Will,” as it only means it is the last one they signed up to that point in time.

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Friday, February 5, 2021

Lawyer Joke

Q: What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer?

A: A bad lawyer lets a case drag on for several years, but a good lawyer knows how to make it last even longer.


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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Tip / News: New Numbers for 2021

Estate/transfer tax

Vermont estate tax exclusion: $5,000,000

Federal estate and lifetime gift tax threshold: $11,700,000

Federal gift tax exclusion (annual): $15,000 [no change from 2020]

Vermont Medicaid

Community Spouse Resource Allowance: $130,380

Home Equity Limit (singles): $603,000




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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Hello 2021—Let’s Get Motivated!

Is there anyone sad to say goodbye to 2020?  For many of us, 2021 epitomizes the symbolic renewal of a new year, with an extra kick of life motivation.  In what ways will you channel this energy?  Unread books, unfinished household improvements, abandoned fitness routines, neglected personal affairs?  This may be the year!

All adults should tend to their personal affairs in some manner, and the task need not be painful.  (Leave the “no pain, no gain” mantra to your exercise regimen!) For some this may be a simple review of existing documents or an update of contact lists and account inventories.   But for others this may be a new venture, and we’ll review the basics.

There are three key components to estate planning: (1) distributing assets at your death; (2) managing your assets and personal affairs during life; and (3) advocating your health care treatment.
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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Fighting Pandemic Blues

Many of us are suffering from pandemic fatigue—at home, in the workplace, and in the community.  Are you taking time for your mental health? And are you finding creative ways to safely connect with family, co-workers, and friends?  Because our office maintains a hybrid model of remote and in-office scheduling, our entire team is never in the office at the same time.  While we have enjoyed some outdoor lunches at the park, our most recent outing involved a local corn maze.  We all made it out!


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Monday, October 19, 2020

Pandemic Lessons Regarding Health Advocates

Autumn is in full swing, and most of us are certainly wishing an end to 2020!  Whether you have had health issues yourself, have assisted a loved one with their health care needs, or are now simply more aware of the fact that you may someday need to rely upon another to make medical decisions, the pandemic reminds us of the importance of advanced health care planning.

All competent adults aged 18 and over should have an Advance Health Care Directive (referred to as a Health Care Proxy or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in other nearby states).  Should you lack the ability to effectively communicate with your health care professional at anytime, this document specifies who can speak on your behalf and make health decisions.  There are many free versions of sample documents on the Department of Health’s website, and estate planning attorneys also have versions they may create for clients.  If you do one on your own, be careful to follow the directions and obtain 2 qualified witnesses.

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