Vermont Estate Planning Blog

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.

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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 . . .

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Elder Law: M&Ms in Different Varieties

It is actually quite unfortunate that two distinct federal health programs share the same first 6 letters in their names.  It should come as no surprise that Medicaid and Medicare are often confused and misunderstood!  Let’s try to clear the fog and explore what these programs offer.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Special Needs Considerations

Many of us have the privilege of knowing a special someone who experiences life from a different vantage point – perhaps one with specific physical challenges or unique cognitive impairments.   One special person in my circle involved a man whose intellectual disability limited his ability to live independently, but whose special needs didn’t inhibit him from singing at the top of his lungs, dancing the polka merrily with his mother, or routinely asking for seconds and thirds of apple pie at family dinners.  He brought and received happiness, just as any other family member or friend.

To read more of this interesting article...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lesser-Known Tax

It’s tax season yet again – a time where we struggle to complete our income tax filings by the April 15 deadline.  However, this article will not address any last-minute income tax tips; rather, we will explore the world of a lesser-known tax -  the estate tax.

Click here to read more of this article.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disinheriting Lindsay

The holidays have passed and you shared a lot of fun with family and friends.  Was it all smooth sailing?  Did everything remain calm and collective?  Perhaps you have learned some new tidbits about certain relatives that cause you to second-guess certain estate planning decisions you have made.  Did you joke that you might take someone out of your will and actually give it some consideration?  Well, before you do anything drastic, consider some alternatives.

To read more of this article:  http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=Disinheriting_Lindsay_(12_2010)&art_id=2222

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Executor: To Be or Not to Be

This is a two part article on Executors.

So your uncle asks you to serve as Executor.  As his favorite nephew, you agree to take on the task.  After all, it sounds prestigious and powerful, and maybe a little fun.  Or perhaps, you simply feel an obligation to answer him in the affirmative.  On the other hand, maybe you didn’t get asked while he was alive – you simply found out this fact after his passing when the Will was discovered.  Now what do you do? 

To read more about this topic here is the link:  http://http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=Executor:__To_Be_or_Not_to_Be_(Part_1)&art_id=2205

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Plural of Executrix?

The Plural of Executrix?

Before you answer, picture this scene.  You are sitting under a spotlight in the “hot seat,” surrounded by a crowd of onlookers masked by darkness and hearing the familiar voice of a day-time talk show host.  At the conclusion of the answer, you are then offered the following selections: (A) Executrixes; (B) Executri; (C) Executrices; or (D) Executors.  After making your selection, you then must declare it your “final answer.”

For the answer to this question and for the whole article please visit the link http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=The_Plural_of_Executrix__-_5_2010&art_id=1966

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