Vermont Estate Planning Blog

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Dissecting Legalese

Whereas the party of the first part shall prescribe, provide, formulate, and otherwise execute the means, method, and product for the tertiary daily repast for the mutual benefit of the parties; whereas the party of the second part shall evaluate, conduct, and otherwise execute in a timely manner the subsequent restoration of the premises used by the mutual parties in the enjoyment of said repast; now therefor, both parties stipulate to the following: dinner shall promptly commence at 7:00pm.

What if legalese was the common language of all communications?  Would we understand each other better?  Although legalese, in its best light, is intended to provide a uniform interpretation of certain terms or phrases, it often complicates dialog and documents. 

For example, the Latin phrase per stirpes is often used in wills, trusts, and  beneficiary designation forms to describe what happens if the named beneficiary has died.  Its widely accepted meaning directs that the beneficiary’s share passes in equal shares to his/her descendants by right of representation.   A descendant (child, grandchild, great-grandchild and so-on) takes the “representative” share of his/her parent.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Would You Rather Embark on an Unmarked Treasure Hunt or Navigate a Map?

Imagine you are playing the popular “Would You Rather” game on a family road trip this summer.  Would you rather embark on an unmarked treasure hunt or navigate that route to the treasure using a clearly marked map?  While some adventurers may prefer to search without clues, others will certainly accept the map in hopes of reaching that destination faster and with less frustration.

Now imagine that same question, but there is no game.  You have recently lost a loved one and have the responsibility of settling their affairs.

Would you rather figure things out as you go or have some guidance from that lost loved one?  Undoubtedly, most would prefer the latter, but let’s consider some real examples from real estates.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

New England Qualifying Track Meet Sponsorship

We were so proud to be able to support our local school at the Essex Invitational.  We received the following note from Heidi Stewart of Essex.


Thank you so much for being a sponsor for the New England qualifying track meet! Hundreds of Vermont's best track and field athletes competed in the Essex Invitational in hopes to go on to compete at New Englands this Saturday. Nothing could have been possible without the contributions of our amazing sponsors! Thank you again for sponsoring and attached I sent along pictures of the front and back of the t-shirt and the program, that was bought by hundreds of families, that contains the business' name. 

Thanks again!

Heidi Stewart

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Friday, May 17, 2019

4th Annual Golfing4Life

Hi Everyone!  This is Bogey.  I would love to have you register and/or be a sponsor at Golfing4Life this year.  The plan is to have a wonderful, fun filled event for our 4th year!  Please register by RSVPing to this email or call/text 802-922-5951! 



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Monday, May 13, 2019

Lawyer Joke

Q: What do you need when you have 3 lawyers up to their necks in cement?

A: More cement.


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Monday, May 13, 2019

4th Annual Golfing4Life Tourney

Jarrett & Luitjens is proud to co-host its 4th Annual Golfing4Life Tournament on July 24th at the Links at Lang Farm.  Last year we raised over $10,000, funds which directly benefit the Cancer Patient Support Foundation of Williston’s Emergency Relief Fund.   To join the fun and support this worthy cause, contact Holly Keough for more information.


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Monday, May 13, 2019

No Magic Carpet Ride for “Medicaid” Trusts

The road to eligibility for long-term care Medicaid benefits can be long and winding, so it can be tempting to board a magic carpet ride and try a so-called “Medicaid” trust, more descriptively referred to as an irrevocable income-only trust.  The theory behind such a trust is that assets owned by the trust are protected from creditors, primarily in consideration of long-term care costs and the desire to become eligible for government benefits.  However, there is no free ride, and transferring assets into an irrevocable trust comes with risks and costs.

IRREVOCABLE: As its name suggests, you cannot change the terms of the trust.  If circumstances change requiring a modification, you would need Court approval and/or consents of all interested parties.
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Monday, February 11, 2019

Wills: Not as Powerful as You Think

Without question, the most common misunderstanding about a Will is that it avoids probate.  THIS IS FALSE.  It’s almost the same as believing the bank will accept your Monopoly money.

Imagine this: your uncle passes, and you are named Executor in his Will.  Can you take a copy of that Will to his bank and access his funds?  Not unless you are the Hulk using your super strength to open the bank vault at night!  The Will on its own carries no legal authority.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Lawyer Joke

Two little girls were having a heated argument about who had the better dad. One girl declared, “My dad’s a carpenter and builds buildings.”   Her friend replied, “Well, my dad’s a lawyer and makes loopholes.”


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Monday, February 11, 2019

New Numbers for 2019

Estate/transfer tax

Vermont estate tax exclusion:


Federal estate tax threshold:


Federal gift tax exclusion (annual):


Vermont Medicaid

Community Spouse Resource Allowance: $126,420

Minimum Maintenance Needs Allowance (spousal allocation): $2,114

Home Equity Limit (singles): $585,000


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