CHANGE OF MIND, CHANGE OF ESTATE PLAN

Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus maintained that change is the only constant in nature.   Modern times continue to demonstrate that change is inevitable, and human behavior models that same understanding.  In the area of estate planning, attorneys strive to draft plans that are flexible, withstand passage of time, and anticipate certain life changes. ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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