Vermont Wills and Probate
Probate of an estate in Vermont can be a time-consuming, detailed, cumbersome, and tedious ordeal. Plus, complex financial and tax matters often surface in large estates. If you have recently lost a family member and are wrestling with Vermont’s probate system, you may be frustrated or even exasperated by the fine print in the paperwork, mounds of forms, and foreign legal jargon.
Chances are, in this situation, you will readily deduce that it is wise to consult a local wills and probate attorney for assistance. Fortunately, help is available to you at the local level. Vermont-based probate lawyers can help you ensure the estate you are struggling with is administered appropriately, efficiently, and cost-effectively. You don’t have to stumble through the probate process alone.
Legal Services Provided by Wills Attorneys
Will attorneys practicing in Vermont offer clients a comprehensive set of legal services that span all aspects and phases of estate administration and the state’s probate process. These services include far more than the creation of simple wills or basic trusts. Probate attorneys regularly roll up their sleeves to tackle beneficiary questions, trustee and executor issues, ambiguous will provisions, and competing will versions, among other issues that land on their desks. Clients can anticipate receiving guidance in the following core tasks through partnering with a skilled Vermont probate lawyers:
- Will drafting
- Trust creation
- Codicil (will amendment) preparation
- Will contests
- Tax planning
- Notice to potential estate creditors
- Asset and liability inventories
- Interpretation/analysis of will provisions
- Beneficiary disputes
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Probate and estate litigation
Are There Benefits to Having a Will?
Without a legally valid will, Vermont’s harsh, inflexible intestate succession laws will kick in to govern the determination of what happens to estate property when a resident of the state dies. In most instances, property will be inherited by a spouse and/or children. If no such relatives are living at the time of the party’s death, property will pass to the next closest surviving family members. And, If no relatives exist, then property passes to the state. Without a will, state courts also determine who assumes custody of minor children when there is no surviving parent.
Unquestionably, these default laws of intestate succession are not desirable to dispose of hard-earned assets and property. The preferable way to prevent and circumvent these laws is with early and routinely reviewed estate planning and administration.
How Does the Vermont Probate Division Operate?
Vermont’s Probate Division is part of the state's court system. Its 18 judges are elected for terms of four years. Interestingly, there is no requirement under Vermont law that probate judges must be attorneys. The Probate Division is charged with administering these duties:
- Probating of wills
- Settling of estates
- Changes of name
- Correction of vital records
- Uniform gifts to minors.
Contact a Vermont Probate Lawyer Today
Will and probate attorneys can tell you if your existing will or trust is legally valid under the prevailing laws in Vermont. These experienced professionals assist testators in avoiding hefty federal estate tax burdens, fees, costs, and time delays through careful and prudent estate planning and administration. It makes no sense to delay; call now to speak with a wills and probate attorney practicing in Vermont at 877-913-7222.