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Vermont Estate Planning



Estate planning serves a variety of functions, from explaining how your assets should be distributed after your death to minimizing federal and Vermont estate tax, from authorizing others to take legal actions on your behalf to explaining your end-of-life treatment wishes. An estate planning attorney can assess your specific needs and recommend estate planning tools that may be right for you.

Common estate planning tools include:

  • Last will and testament: Used to leave instructions about the disposition of your estate after you die, name an executor to carry out those instructions and appoint a legal guardian to raise your minor children.
  • Living trust: An alternative or addition to the last will and testament that is also used to distribute assets after your death. Living trusts operate outside the probate system, affording greater privacy to your beneficiaries and speed in distributing assets.
  • Healthcare power of attorney: Used to name a surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated and unable to communicate.
  • Living will: Used to explain your end-of-life treatment decisions on issues such as artificial resuscitation, life support and pain medicine.
  • Financial power of attorney: Used to empower an attorney in fact to handle legal and financial tasks on your behalf.

Do You Need a Last Will & Testament?

A last will and testament is one of the most commonly used estate planning documents, but many adults mistakenly believe they don't need a will. In fact, everyone who is at least 18 years old and mentally competent should create a last will. In particular, you'll want a will if any of the following describe you:

  • You are a parent to minor children
  • You have an estate, or assets, such as financial accounts, real estate or other personal property
  • You don't want your estate distributed according to Vermont intestacy laws
  • You're a business owner
  • You financially support charities or people other than your spouse and children, and want to ensure that support continues after your death

Find & Hire Local Vermont Estate Planning Attorneys

Whether you live in Burlington or Barre, South Burlington or Rutland, or elsewhere in Vermont, Attorneys.com can quickly connect you with estate planning lawyers and probate attorneys in your area. Complete the form on this page to use our free lawyer referral service, or phone us at 877-913-7222. After collecting some basic information, we'll quickly match you with a local lawyer.