Skip to main content
Vermont Law School has resumed on-campus classes for the fall. Masks are currently required for all community members. For information on campus access, health and safety protocols, and testing requirements please visit vermontlaw.edu/covid19.
Stephanie Willbanks, Vermont Law School
Faculty

Stephanie Willbanks

Professor of Law

JD, University of Minnesota, 1978

BA, University of Minnesota, 1972

802-831-1277

Curriculum Vitae

Stephanie Willbanks

Biography

Professor Stephanie J. Willbanks is an expert in federal transfer taxation, income taxation, probate, intestacy, wills and trusts. The courses she has taught at Vermont Law School include Business Taxation, Estate and Gift Taxation, Estate Planning, Estates, Income Taxation, Tax Policy, and Torts. She is the author of "Federal Taxation of Wealth Transfers: Cases and Problems" as well as "Federal Estate and Gift Taxation: Quick Review".

Professor Willbanks received her BA degree, magna cum laude, in 1972 and her JD degree, magna cum laude, in 1978, both from the University of Minnesota. After graduation from law school, she clerked for the Honorable Rosalie E. Wahl of the Minnesota Supreme Court. She then practiced law for two years with the firm Henson & Efron PA in Minneapolis before joining the VLS faculty in 1981. In 1986, she became the first female faculty member to receive tenure at VLS. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1989 to 1994 and from 1997 to 2002, as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs from 2005 to 2009, as Vice Dean for Administration and Student Affairs from 2014 to 2017, and as Vice Dean for Faculty from 2017 to 2018. She also served as Director of Academic Technology from 2002 to 2005.

Professor Willbanks is an academic fellow of the American College of Trust and Estates Counsel (ACTEC), a member of the American Law Institute, and a commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission. She served as reporter to the Vermont Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Rules of Probate Procedure from 1998 to 2005. She served on the Association of American Law Schools' Membership Review Committee from 2004 to 2006 and on numerous accreditation teams for the ABA and AALS. She served as the Consultant on Membership Review for the AALS from 2010 to 2017. She has presented lectures on estate planning and tax reform at numerous seminars and has served on a number of commissions in the state of Vermont, including the Vermont State Commission on Tax Policy and the Governor's Commission on Property Tax Reform. She has also served as a member of the Vermont Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Judicial Education, the Vermont Supreme Court's Judicial Performance Review Committee, and the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board. She is a member of the Vermont Bar Association's Probate and Trust Section and Tax Section.

Publications

Books

Federal Estate and Gift Taxation: QuickReview (3d edition, West Academic Publishing Co. 2020).

Teacher's Manual: Federal Taxation of Wealth Transfers​ (4th edition, Wolters Kluwer Publishers 2016)​​.

Federal Taxation of Wealth Transfers: Cases and Problems (4th edition, Wolters Kluwer Publishers 2016)​​.

Federal Estate and Gift Taxation: An Analysis and Critique ​(3d ed., Thomson West Publishing Co. 2004).​​

Articles

Gifts in Contemplation of Death: Why Can’t Section 2035 Simply Die? 45 ACTEC L.J. 201 (2020)

​What's in a Name? Would a Rose by Any Other Name Really Smell as Sweet? 63 J. Leg. Ed. 647 (2014).​

Interstate Guardianship Jurisdiction: A Solution to "Granny Snatching," 37 Vt. Bar. Ass. J. 24 (2011) (with Judge George Belcher)​.​

Taxing Once, Taxing Twice, Taxing Joint Tenants (Again) at Death Isn't Nice, 9 U. Pitt. Tax Rev. 1 (2011).

Changes to Vermont's Probate Law: Increasing the Surviving Spouse's Share and Other Measures, 35 Vt. Bar Ass. J.​ 26 (2009) (with Jonathan D. Secrest).
​Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow, But Does It Have to be So Complicated? Transmission of Property at Death in Vermont, 29 Vt. L. Rev. 895 (2005)​.

Chapters

Law as a Crossword Puzzle, reprinted in Techniques for Teaching Law 2, edited by Gerald F. Hess, Steven I. Friedland, Michael Hunger Schwartz, and Sophie Sparrow (Carolina Academic Press 2011).​​

Wealth Transfer Taxation: Tax Planning, in Jesse Dukeminier, Robert Sitkoff, and James Lindgren, WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATES​ (8th edition, Wolters Kluwer Publishers 2009).​​
Teacher's Manual: Wealth Transfer Taxation: Tax Planning for Jesse Dukeminier, Robert Sitkoff, and James Lindgren, WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATES (8th edition, Wolters Kluwer Publishers 2009).​

Legal Advocacy

​Testimony before the Vermont House Ways and Means Committee on the Miscellaneous Tax Bill, ​February 2009.
​Testimony before the Vermont House Judiciary Committee on H.11 (Intestacy and Spousal Share), January 2009.​

Presentations

Distance Education in Law Schools: Exploring Issues and Best Practices, AALS Annual Meeting, January 2018

​The ABA Site Inspection Process - The Role of the Association of American Law Schools, and Writing the Faculty Section of the Report, AALS Annual Meeting, October 2010, October 2011, October 2012, October 2013, September 2014​, October 2015.​

​The AALS Site Inspection Workshop: Writing the Report, AALS Annual Meeting, 2012, 2013, 2014​.​
Guardianship over Adults: Establishing Jurisdiction & Resolving Jurisdictional Support, Lexis Online CLE, 2013.​​
The AALS Site Inspection Process: The Reporter's Perspective, AALS Annual Meeting, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2011​.
Managing Decanal Transitions, ​Knowing When to Quit, Nudging Towards Learning Outcomes (Moderator), A Day in the Life (Moderator), ABA Academic Deans' Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 27, 2010​​.​
​Year in Review: Probate & Trusts: Ramifications of S.26, Vermont Bar Association Annual Meeting, Lake Morey Inn, Fairlee, Vermont, September 25, 2009​.​
​Changing Vermont's Spousal Share, Vermont Bar Association annual meeting, Lake Morey Inn, Fairlee, Vermont, ​September 26, 2008.​
​Strategic Change as Impacted by Bar Examiners, ABA Academic Deans' Conference, June 13, 2008, Inglewood, Color​ado.​​
Managing for Mission, ABA Academic Deans' Conference, June 2006​.​

Awards & Accomplishments

Affiliations

Academic Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel: 2009-present​​

Fellow, American Bar Foundation: 2011-present

​Member, American Law Institute: 2010-present​​

Member, Uniform Law Commission: 2001-present

Member, American Bar Association: 1978-present

Associate Member, Vermont Bar Association: 1981-present

​Consultant, Membership Review, Association of American Law Schools: 2010 - 2017

​Member, Vermont Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education: 1993-2001​

Service Work

Testimony before the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on H.436 (The Uniform Recognition of Wills Act), March and April 2019.

Association of American Law Schools Site Inspection Team Member: 1992-2018

Testimony before the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on H.23 (The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act), January and April 2015

​Testimony before the Vermont House Ways and Means Committee on H.79 (The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protected Persons Jurisdiction Act), January 2011.​

American Bar Association Law School Administration Committee: 2008-2010

American Bar Association Site Inspection Team Member: 1992-2010

​Member, Association of American Law Schools Membership Review Committee: 2004-2006​

​Reporter to the Vermont Probate Rules Committee: 1998-2005​

​Member, Vermont State Commission on Tax Policy: 1986​

​Member, Tri-State Task Force on Bar Admissions: 1994-2002​

​Advised State of Vermont on tax policy as member of Vermont State Commission on Tax Policy: 1986​

Member, Vermont Supreme Court Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board: 1990-2002, and Chair: 1991-1994

​Member, Vermont Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Performance Review: 1993-2003​

​Member, Governor's Commission on Property Tax Reform: 1988​

Awards, Honors or Grants

Teacher of the Year Award: 1984, 1987, 2012, and 2018.​

Vermont Law School Women’s Law Group Phenomenal Woman Award, 2008 and 2012

Other Accomplishments or Activities

​First female faculty member to receive tenure, Vermont Law School, 1986​