Executing Wills in Vermont Amid COVID-19

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

Under most circumstances, in order to execute a will under Vermont law, the following requirements must be met:

  • The will must be in writing;
  • The will must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) or another person in the presence of the testator and at the testator’s express direction; and
  • The will must be attested and subscribed to by at least two credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other.

Stated more simply, a Vermont will signing ceremony requires at least three persons to be present together at the same time, in the same room, all in view of one another, and with all placing a wet ink signature to the same paper document.  This poses significant challenges in the time of COVID-19.

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Vermont Suspends Civil Statutes of Limitations During COVID-19 Emergency

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

On April 28, 2020, Governor Phil Scott signed into law S.114, an act relating to the Vermont judiciary’s emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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The Right Time for an Advance Directive is Now

The following was written by Sheehey attorney Daphne Moritz, who specializes in estate planning and elder law, and works out of Sheehey’s Woodstock office.

At the time I am writing this, we are well into the COVID-19 pandemic, which means we have been self-isolating, social distancing, quarantining, masking, gloving, and listening to a daily barrage consisting of frontline heroes, large scale catastrophes, uplifting stories, and problematic politics. Some people face emotional and financial struggles. Others seem to cope day-to- day well enough. Still others worry about their own health and that of their vulnerable family members. Most of us live daily with an acute awareness of our unseen virus nemesis, taking the measures we can and doing our best to stave off the worst.

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Department of Labor Answers Employer Questions About Unemployment Process

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

The IRS released guidance regarding payroll tax deferral under the CARES Act for Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan recipients. Under the CARES Act, all employers, except those who receive PPP loan forgiveness, may defer depositing and paying their share of Social Security taxes from March 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Taxes will still accrue during this deferral period and will be due over the following two years, with 50% of the deferred taxes due on December 31, 2021 and the remaining amount due on December 31, 2022.

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Jim Spink To Present Remote Mediation CLE In “Food For Thought” Series

Jim Spink, a partner at Sheehey who specializes in mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution, will present a CLE along with Allegra Carpenter on April 30, 2020 on the topic of conducting and participating in remote mediations during the COVID-19 crisis.

The CLE will run from 12:30 PM to 1:15 PM, and it will be followed by a 15-minute Q&A session with the audience.  It is eligible for 0.5 CLE hours for attorney licensure.  The CLE is sponsored by the Vermont Association for Justice, and it is part of VTAJ’s “Food for Thought” series.

“Food for Thought” is a series of mini-webinars on current topics, and registering attorneys have the option to make a contribution toward the Vermont Food Bank Coronavirus Relief Fund.  To register, click here.

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, Sheehey has transitioned to conduct all of its work remotely, and Jim’s mediation practice has gone online.  Learn more about Sheehey’s coronavirus response here, and learn about how online mediation works here.

Department of Labor Answers Employer Questions About Unemployment Process

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

The Vermont Department of Labor is fielding an unprecedented number of unemployment claims, and many employers have questions about their role in the process. On April 9, 2020, the Department held a Virtual Town Hall to guide employers with laid off employees. Below are a few common questions addressed by the Department’s presentation.

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Small Business Administration Clarifies PPP Rules Under CARES Act

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

The CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) provides loans to certain covered businesses. PPP borrowers are eligible for partial loan forgiveness. The CARES Act provided the general framework for the program and deferred to the SBA to create specific rules for the program to operate. The SBA released an interim final rule for borrowers and lenders under the PPP adding extra loan and forgiveness limits. The most notable limits are as follows.

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Labor Department Answers Questions About COVID-19 Leave Policies

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a detailed memo, in question and answer format, about the paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave contained in the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA), i.e., the second coronavirus (COVID-19) relief legislation. While the memo is mostly about the leave provisions themselves, it does contain some information about the employer tax credits that are based on the leave provisions.

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Explaining The Employee Retention Credit

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

The CARES Act provides for an Employee Retention Credit that eases employers’ burden of maintaining payroll as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. If a business is negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, then the business may be eligible for a credit to apply against federal payroll taxes.

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The CARES Act: Relief For Individuals And Tax Consequences Part II

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

As discussed in our previous post on this topic, the CARES Act provides for payments to individuals to help them stay afloat during this crisis.  In addition, it also waives or alters certain tax rules as discussed below.

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