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Friday, May 1, 2020

Lawyer Joke

Q: What do you call healthy lawyers voluntarily self-isolating in the future?

A: Alternate reality.

 


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Friday, April 24, 2020

Office Operations

Like many professional businesses, our attorneys and staff have been working remotely since the end of March, serving the needs of existing and prospective clients “virtually.”  In accordance with the Governor’s most recent Order, some staff have returned to our physical location, though attorneys will continue to connect with clients via telephone and video chat.  When our entire team can return to our physical offices, we will continue to routinely sanitize and practice social distancing in order to promote the safety of our clients, staff, and community.

 


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Friday, April 24, 2020

Indoor Scavenger Hunt-Estate Edition


There’s no debating that we are living through unprecedented and challenging times right now.  While many are combating this pandemic on the front lines, many more of us are following the “stay home, stay safer” model prescribed by our leaders.  And staying home may be on our agenda for longer than originally expected or what some of us think we can tolerate.  The binge-watching, the banana bread baking, the macaroni necklace crafting, the mask-sewing, the spring cleaning, closet organizing, and the list goes on. Have you run out of ways to spend your time at home?

Here’s another suggestion: indoor scavenger hunt—estate edition.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Office Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have temporarily closed our physical office.   We will continue to monitor emails, answer the main office telephone, and retrieve telephone messages as we strive to meet the needs of our clients from our remote offices.


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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The SECURE (“Setting Every Community Up for Retirement”) Act of 2019: Why it May Not Impact Your Estate Plan

Many individuals have questions and concerns about the SECURE Act that was signed into law at the close of 2019.  One section significantly changes the rules regarding required distributions from retirement plans (IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and the like) – not for the plan participant or owner, but for the beneficiary. 

Spouses and a small category of other individuals are not affected by the law – they may continue to stretch the distributions over their life expectancy.  However, for most non-spouse beneficiaries inheriting a retirement account, funds will need to be withdrawn in full no later than ten (10) years after the owner’s death, instead of the previous lifetime “stretch” of those distributions.  Individuals who have been aggressively directing taxable income to retirement accounts, with the assumption that their children and grandchildren would be able to withdraw funds over many decades, are the most affected by the new law.


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Friday, January 31, 2020

Tip/News: New Numbers for 2020

Estate/transfer tax

Vermont estate tax exclusion: $4,250,000

Federal estate and lifetime gift tax threshold: $11,580,000


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Monday, January 27, 2020

Lawyer Joke

Q: If a lawyer and IRS agent are both drowning and you can only save one, would you go to lunch or read the news?


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Thursday, January 23, 2020

The SECURE Act: Glass Half Full?

There is no doubt that the SECURE Act of 2019, signed into law on December 20, 2019, as part of the spending package, revolutionizes  the treatment of many retirement benefits, particularly in the area of required withdrawals for the plan-owner’s beneficiary.  But, should you panic?  Well, that may depend upon whether you are a glass-half full or glass half-empty personality type.

Here’s what you need to know in basic terms:


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Friday, November 8, 2019

Lawyer Joke

Q: What do you get when you cross a librarian with a lawyer?

A: All the information you need, but you can’t understand a word of it.

 


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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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