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General Legal

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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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tip / News: Estate Tax

Vermont remains one of about a dozen states that imposes a state estate tax.  However, during the summer, Governor Scott signed Act No. 71, raising Vermont’s exclusion amount to $4,250,000 in 2020 and $5,000,000 in 2021.

 


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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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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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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

New Numbers for 2019

Estate/transfer tax

Vermont estate tax exclusion:

$2,750,000

Federal estate tax threshold:

$11,400,000

Federal gift tax exclusion (annual):

$15,000

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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Friday, August 31, 2018

Estate Planning: Not a Game of Hide and Seek


Games are usually a lot of fun, but you don’t really want to play hide and seek with your estate planning documents.  After you have signed and implemented your plan, you may want privacy, but you should not hide your documents from everyone.  If you excel at concealing, it may not be found when needed.  How and with whom you share will depend upon the document and your goals, but here are some considerations:

Will—while this document has no effect until after death, it has zero effect if never discovered; you can store the original:

¨ In a fire-proof safe at home. if someone else knows location and its key

¨ In a safe deposit box at a bank, if someone else has joint access and a key to the box; without a surviving joint owner, no one will be allowed in the safe deposit box after your death without Court authority; if the joint owner cannot locate a key, there will likely be additional procedures and costs involved in accessing the box

¨ At the Probate Court in the county in which you live, for a modest fee (currently $30); however, if you move out of the county or update your will, it will be necessary to either retrieve your original will or replace it with the updated version

 

Trust—a revocable living trust is effective during your lifetime, and the Trustee may need to produce a copy of it, or a Certificate of Trust, when managing its assets.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Estate Planning: Taxation of Life Insurance


Life insurance plays a vital role in many estate plans.  Proceeds can provide essential funds to replace lost earnings, pay debts, finance college tuition expenses, or even cover estate tax liabilities.  However, there is confusion about the taxation of these life insurance proceeds.  Contrary to common belief, insurance benefits are taxable to the estate of the insured.   For many Vermont estates, it is inconsequential because they total under $2,750,000.
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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.


Read more . . .


Thursday, December 31, 2009

ATTORNEY JARRETT PRESENTS AS A PANEL MEMBER AT UVM MEDICAL SCHOOL ON “DYNAMICS OF PLANNING AND LEGAL ISSUES FOR SENIORS”

 

December 28, 2009
 
ATTORNEY JARRETT PRESENTS AS A PANEL MEMBER AT uvm mEDICAL sCHOOL ON “dYNAMICS OF pLANNING AND lEGAL iSSUES FOR sENIORS”
 
So Burlington, VT – Jarrett Law Office, PLC is pleased to announce that Glenn A. Jarrett, Esq., the principal of the firm, was a member of a panel that included Judge Susan Fowler, Wendy Carty, and Clifford Singer, M.D. The presentation, titled “Dynamics of Planning and Legal Issues for Seniors with Dementia and the Advanced Aged”, was presented on December 14, 2009 at the UVM Medical School. This panel discussion was attended by UVM medical school students. Glenn’s segment of the panel discussion included, legal issues, advance health care directives and HIPAA.
 
Attorney Jarrett concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law and special needs planning. He has prepared thousands of wills, trusts, medical directives and powers of attorney for his clients. He is one of a handful of attorneys in Vermont who also hold the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. He is a CFP® practitioner, but limits his financial planning practice to estate planning.
 
Glenn A. Jarrett is the principal of Jarrett Law Office, PLC. Attorney Jarrett has practiced law in Vermont for over thirty years. He is also admitted to practice in New York. He is past chairman of the Vermont Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and has served for over 25 years as a member of the Association’s Professional Responsibility Section. In addition, he is the immediate past-President of the Vermont Society of Financial Services Professionals, a multi-disciplinary group accepting members who hold one of fourteen different certifications in law, accounting, finance and insurance. Mr. Jarrett is also a member of the Chittenden County and Vermont Bar Associations.
 
Attorney Jarrett is an honors graduate of Middlebury College and the Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as a Senior Editor on the board of the Law Center’s international law journal, Law and Policy in International Business. He began his legal career as law clerk to the Honorable Albert W. Coffrin of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. He spent nine years as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Vermont and 11 years as General Counsel of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency.
 
He also is one of a small number of elder law attorneys in Vermont. For example, of over two thousand licensed attorneys in Vermont, only 25 are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (“NAELA”), the leading membership organization for elder law attorneys in the United States. Attorney Jarrett not only is a member of NAELA, but is a founding member and current Secretary/Treasurer of the Vermont chapter of NAELA. He has regularly presented well-attended seminars on Estate Planning and Elder Law to attorneys and financial professionals and has been interviewed numerous times on radio and television programs, including several “Across the Fence” programs produced by the Vermont Extension Service and broadcast on WCAX-TV. 
 

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