Vermont Estate Planning Blog

Monday, February 12, 2018

Elder Law: Legal Capacity ≠ Memory

Can you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday morning? Or what you wore last Friday?  Details involving routine tasks elude many of us, but does that define our legal capacity?  While that may provide clues, it is not an absolute ingredient in the test for legal capacity.  In fact, there is no “bright line” test for capacity.  It is a grey area and does not equate to passing a memory test.

Accordingly, individuals suffering memory impairment or even diagnosed forms of dementia are not automatically deemed legally incapacitated.  While medical providers are generally concerned with diagnosis and treatment, a legal assessment of capacity focuses on a person’s functional ability to engage in and understand a particular transaction.
Read more . . .

Friday, September 15, 2017

Elder Law: What Do You Know About Hospice

According to national hospice utilization data, Vermonters appear to avail themselves of hospice services at a lower rate than residents of other states.  While there are likely many reasons, education should not be one.

Hospice is an end-of life care model of coordinated services and support for patients and their families.  The focus is on quality care, comfort, and pain management, not treatment.  Individuals enrolled in hospice receive compassionate care from an interdisciplinary team that may include medical providers, spiritual advisors, therapists, social workers, and volunteers.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Paperwork of Caregiving

This is a great article that Stephanie Choate wrote and it was published in the Vermont Maturity Magazine.  One of our partners, Glenn A. Jarrett, Esq. was quoted in the article.

The article is about Advance Health Care Directives and how important it is to have the discussions before it becomes too late to express your wishes.
Read more . . .

Friday, August 11, 2017

Estate Planning: Superpowers in Your POA

With Spider-Man and Wonder Woman demonstrating their superpowers in the summer box office, it seems like an appropriate time to review some “super” powers that should be found in a comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Scam Alerts

Sometimes we find a great tip and like to share.  Here is our newest tip: Scam Alerts from the State

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jennifer Luitjens, Esq. to Present at a Webinar for American Association of Daily Money Managers

On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 7pm, Jennifer R. Luitjens, Esq., Partner at Jarrett & Luitjens, PLC will present a webinar for the American Association of Daily Money Managers.  The seminar is titled RECORDKEEPING OF CLIENT INFORMATION.  

This webinar will explore opportunities on how to better serve clients with note taking and record organization skills.

Read more . . .

Friday, May 19, 2017

Social Security Number

Protect your Social Security number!

To help address the growing concern of identity theft, Social Security numbers will begin to disappear from Medicare ID cards, beginning in April 2018.  CMS will begin mailing replacement cards with a new “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” (MBI) next spring, with mandate to complete transition by April 2019.


Read more . . .

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Elder Law: SNT Fairness Act

With the recent passage of the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (effective December 13, 2016), disabled individuals with mental capacity can now create their own special needs trust.  Special needs trusts are often necessary in order to preserve asset-eligibility for government benefits, primarily Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), when a disabled beneficiary receives money from a gift, inheritance, settlement, or other source.  The general purpose of these trusts is to supplement public benefits, ensuring excess funds for that individual to use over the course of his or her lifetime.

Prior to the passage of this law, individuals with disabilities had to rely upon a parent, grandparent, or Court-appointed guardian to establish such a trust funded with their own monies.  In many situations, there was no such individual already available, thereby creating the necessity to petition the Court  for the sole purpose of creating the special needs trust.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Estate Planning: Spring Cleaning Your EP Closet

Although past experience reminds us that winter is not yet over, our printed calendars do suggest that spring has begun.  For many, that season’s arrival initiates the annual exercise of cleaning – washing the drapes, dusting the ceiling fan blades, and an overall freshening of the house.  For perhaps a smaller number of cleaning enthusiasts, this ritual also includes the re-organization of closets and sorting through file cabinets or stacks of paperwork.  And for even a smaller percentage of cleaners, sorting may involve a review of legal documents.

If your spring cleaning tradition doesn’t include the tackling of your “estate planning closet,” should it?  Here are some suggested guidelines.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


May 5, 2017- The Vermont Estate & Elder Law Institute put on Hip2BE2, a day long training in Estate and Elder Law topics. Attendees learned everything from estate & elder law terms, care options at home, Social Security retirement benefits, and then heard a lively panel discussion on the Fine Line of Capacity. 

The presenters included Jennifer Luitjens, Esq. from Jarrett & Luitjens; Deb Gaylord, Director of Care Management at Age Well; Kathleen Peterson, Supervisor, Client Access Team at Age Well, John Chastenay, Claims Representative, Social Security Administration and a dynamic panel of Glenn Jarrett, Esq, at Jarrett & Luitjens; Dr. Frank Landry, MD; Hon.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Estate Planning: How High to Build the Wall?

Every estate plan should have some kind of wall — a wall of privacy, that is.   But how high?

Maximum privacy suggests you reveal only that a plan exists, while full exposure proposes a full sharing of estate planning documents.  How high you build depends upon your personal comfort level with “prematurely” sharing your personal information with your designated parties (e.g., executor, trustee, agents), the likelihood of revisions, and concern for potential abuse of powers given or information revealed.

Read more . . .

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