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Estate Planning and Wills

As we continue our discussion by an estate planning lawyer, we’ve previously talked about wills and probate as well as estate settling and beneficiaries of an estate. Now we are going to talk about estate planning and wills.

Estate Planning and Wills

Estate planning attorneys in Utah recognize that Estate planning and Wills can involve various degrees of complexity. You want to utilize estate attorneys to achieve personal, family and tax objectives. An outright distribution of assets may only require a simple Will. If you desire one or more trusts you may need a testamentary trust provision in your Will. Alternatively, the Will may leave assets to a preexisting inter vivos trust (created in your lifetime), in which case it is called a pour over Will. From the simple to the complex, the purpose of estate planning and wills is to ensure that the testator’s estate plan and goals are achieved and to provide for surviving family members, and minimize taxes. A Utah estate planning attorney can help you with these needs.

Estate planning documents such as a Last Will and advanced directives such as a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy are needed to avoid uncertainty and litigation in Guardianship Court or Surrogate’s Court regarding a person’s desires and intent. Other papers that may be appropriate include a Living Trust, a Living Will and a Power of Attorney.

There are many significant issues that I review with individuals regarding their Estate Plan. First and foremost is obtaining information regarding family members and kinship. Gathering information regarding next of kin or heirship may not always be a simple task. Family members may have become estranged over the years. Also, kinship history may be located in places outside of the United States where birth, death and marriage records are not properly maintained. Also, a thorough review of assets is needed to ascertain value for possible estate and gift tax implications. Assets include bank statements, stocks, real estate and other items of value. Finding out about asset ownership is important since some assets such as jointly owned property will pass upon death directly to a joint owner and not be controlled by a Last Will. Other assets such as life insurance and retirement accounts may also go directly to named beneficiaries. Typically, only assets in a person’s name alone are controlled by a Last Will. Discussing beneficiaries and having Executors and Trustees is also vital. The fundamental purpose of estate planning and preparing a Last Will and other papers is to avoid disputes and confusion regarding the settling of one’s affairs. In the event a person dies without a Will, state laws provide who inherits your estate. The preparation of estate planning documents avoids this result and the distribution of an estate to unintended beneficiaries.

For Families in Salt Lake, a Probate Lawyer Prevents Debt and Discord

For families and individuals in Long Island, a probate lawyer can be the difference between

  • Inheriting an organized, well-divided estate and inheriting unexpected debt.
  • Using a living trust to manage multiple assets and properties and spending months in probate.
  • Peace of mind and worry.

It is your retirement, your assets, your family.

There is no set age or income at which a person should begin planning to protect their family and assets with the help of a probate lawyer.

The following are situations representative of those faced by many in Utah.

Advice for Salt Lake County – a Probate Lawyer’s Suggestions

  1. Multiple homes and/ or large, complicated families? Consider a living trust.

Take a man who remarries five years after his wife passed away. Both husband and wife have two children from previous marriages. They have one daughter together. The woman’s older son was about to enter college when she remarried, so he never lived with his stepfather. He stays at his father’s home during college breaks.

When the couple revised their wills, they wanted to draw up a plan that made provisions for their children and any other children they might have together, but they were not sure how to divide their assets among the children. Both earn between $50,000 and $70,000 yearly.

The woman’s ex-husband had already made some provisions for their two sons, so how should the couple best allocate their assets?

The complications of blended-family estate planning may test the limitations of estate planning. If the couple contacted a Long Island probate lawyer with their questions, he might advise that they establish a revocable living trust and last will through which they could freely control their assets and provide for payments upon death while avoiding possible probate disputes. Specific provisions can be made to benefit all of the couple’s children by allocating different assets or asset percentages to each one.

Additionally, if the couple were to purchase an out-of-state vacation home, the revocable trust would help them manage their assets while avoiding the probate involved with properties in different states.

  1. Live well. Draw up your living will, healthcare proxy and Last Will.

The most emotionally-charged changes in life often carry large financial implications. An experienced Long Island probate lawyer can help you make sure that your finances are protected and organized before life-changing events are underway.

Not only does planning ahead prevent legal and familial disputes, it allows your family to deal with life as it happens—not play catch-up with paperwork as it happens.

  1. Special needs? Provide and protect with a supplemental needs trust.

What if that same couple had a child with a developmental disability? How would this change their financial situation in the present and future, and how could a probate lawyer help them arrange the best situation for their child?

Planning for a special needs child’s future requires special attention, because the child’s future eligibility for Social Security and other governmental benefits is at stake.

A supplemental needs trust (SNT) allows the beneficiary to receive financial support without losing much-needed governmental support. This is one of the best examples of an instance in which estate planning is of immediate concern to younger families.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506