The estate planning attorneys here are at Unsworth LaPlante proudly serve people that live in the Town of Bennington, Vermont. It is well known for its historic district, and a few major points of interest are the Bennington Battle Monument and the Robert Frost Stone House Museum at Bennington College. Life is good in this very special place, and you can enjoy it with peace of mind if you are properly prepared for the inevitabilities of aging.
Probate and Estate Administration
Before we provide some excellent probate resources, we should explain what this whole process is all about from an estate planning perspective. If you leave behind a last will stating your final wishes, the executor would be required to admit the will to the probate court. The court would provide supervision during the estate administration process.
Final debts would be paid during probate, and if anyone wanted to challenge the validity of the will, they could come forward. After the estate is been probated and closed by the court, the executor would be empowered to distribute the assets in accordance with the wishes of the decedent.
In some cases, a person with financial resources will pass away without any estate planning documents at all. This is called the condition of intestacy. Under these circumstances, the probate court would appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. Ultimately, the court would follow the intestate succession laws of the state of Vermont to determine how the assets should be distributed.
As estate planning attorneys, we obviously address postmortem issues. At the same time, a well-constructed estate plan should address end of life eventualities. Along these lines, you should consider that matter of potential incapacity.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes 13% of all seniors, and 40% of people that are 85 and older are affected by the disease. Most people with Alzheimer’s are going to become unable to handle their own affairs at some point in time. And of course, this disease is not the only cause of incapacity.
When an adult becomes incapacitated, the probate court can be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act as a representative. There is such a thing as a voluntary guardianship if the person in question knows that he or she can no longer act independently with competence.
Though a guardianship proceeding can provide a solution, it is possible to take the matter into your own hands in advance. An attorney from our firm can help you execute documents called durable powers of attorney.
You can name someone to make monetary decisions on your behalf with a durable financial power of attorney, and you can add an advance directive for health care decision making.
Bennington County Probate Division
Probate matters are handled on the county level. For people that live in Bennington, the Bennington County Probate Division is the appropriate court. It is located at 207 South Street, Bennington. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The court can be reached by phone at 802-447-2700.
Vermont Statutes Relevant to Probate
If you are interested enough to do some deep diving, it is wise to go directly to the source. On the website of the Vermont General Assembly, you can access the applicable statutes. Click the following link to reach the appropriate page: Decedents Estates and Fiduciary Relations.
Free Local Seminars
You can learn a lot about probate and other important estate planning matters if you attend one of our seminars. A great deal of ground is covered, and you have everything to gain and nothing to lose, because there is no admission charge. Visit our seminar page to see the schedule and obtain registration information.
Schedule a Consultation!
At the end of the day, but most effective probate resource is a licensed estate planning lawyer. We are here to help if you would like to discuss your legacy goals with one of our attorneys. You can send us a message through our contact page to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone here in Vermont at 802-879-7133.