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Estate Planning Attorney Centerville Utah

When you need an Estate Planning Attorney in Centerville Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506. We can help you with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, probate, and estate administration when a loved one has passed on. We offer a free consultation, just give us a call.

Estate planning is for everyone, not just the wealthy and it is a plan a person makes for the management and administration of their property during their lifetime and after their death. When a person dies without an estate plan, the courts will be forced to make crucial decisions for the deceased such as: the distribution of the deceased properties, appointment of guardians (for the deceased minor children) and personal representatives, dissolution of business, etc. This process is very expensive and can lead to disputes among the members of the deceased families.
Estate planning entails the preparation of will or codicil, setting up trusts, bequeathing gifts to persons or entities and/or granting authority to do certain acts by way of power of attorney. This discuss will explain the various forms of estate planning and highlight its benefits.

Estate planning is the arrangement a person makes during their lifetime for the management, distribution and/or disposal of a their property during the person’s lifetime and/or after death. Assets that can make up an individual’s estate include real properties (such as buildings and lands), intellectual properties, cars, insurance, shares/stocks, bank accounts and other personal properties.

Forms Of Estate Planning In Centerville Utah

Wills and Codicils: The Last Will and Testament is a legal document that expresses how the properties of a testator (the party making the will) should be distributed and administered after the death of the testator. The testator expresses his wishes through a Will or Codicil and appoints executors and/or trustees to carry out the intentions of the will. In a will, the testator may make several arrangements such as: the distribution of their assets (which includes all personal and real properties), distribution of residue (the remainder of the testator’s assets that is not specified in the will), appointment of executors and/or trustees to manage and distribute the properties of the testator, the appointment of guardians (where any of the testator’s children is a minor), establishment of trusts, funeral arrangements and other instructions of the testator. A Codicil is an addendum to a will, that is, it is an addition or supplement that explains, amends, or nullifies part of an already executed will. The codicil is also ambulatory, that is, it takes effect only after the death of the testator and it is executed in the same manner as the will.

Validity of a Will or Codicil

For a Will or Codicil to be valid, the following must be present:
• It must be in writing.
• The testator must have the capacity to make the will or codicil. The testator must be at least 18 years old at the making of the will.
• The will must be made voluntarily. The testator must have written the will without coercion or fraud.
• At the making of the will, the testator must be a person of sound mind, illustrating that he understands the extent of his properties and the effects of making a will.
• There must be at least two witnesses who will attest to the making of the will. Under the Nigerian law, for a will to be valid, at least two persons are required to attest a will. This requirement varies in some other jurisdictions where only one or more than two witnesses may be required to validate a will.
• Signature of the Testator: The testator’s signature must be appended or acknowledged in the presence of at least two witness.
• Signature of the witnesses: The witnesses must sign (attest) the will in the presence of the testator.


A trust is a process whereby a party called the grantor transfers properties to another called the trustee to hold and manage the properties on behalf of the grantor’s beneficiaries. A trust can be set up by the grantor’s last will and testament, in which case, it is called a testamentary trust and it can also be set up during the grantor’s lifetime, in this case, it is called a living trust. The establishment of trusts gives the trustee the powers to distribute the property of the grantor without applying for probate or any court ordered process hence, it reduces estate taxes and saves time.

Deed of Gift

A Deed of Gift is a gratuitous arrangement that voluntarily transfers the ownership of a property from the owner to another without any consideration or compensation from the donee. Examples of gifts that can be transferred are real properties such as land or building and personal properties of the grantor. Under the Utah law, a minor has no the legal capacity to grant gift. However, minors can accept gifts through their legal guardian. A deed of gift once delivered to the donee is irrevocable that is, it cannot be changed or reversed except the donor lacks the legal capacity to grant the gift; the gift was granted under duress, misrepresentation or mistake surrounding the circumstances or the gift was transferred with an intention to evade tax or breach the law.

Power of Attorney

The power of attorney is an instrument of delegation which allows a party (called the donor) appoint another party (called the donee) to act on behalf of the donor. Usually, the donor delegates powers to the donee where the donor is unavailable to perform the acts delegated, incapable of performing the delegated tasks due to ill health or when the donee’s expertise is required for the proper execution of the delegated tasks. A Power of Attorney may confer either general, specific powers or both powers to the donee:

The Benefits of Estate Planning In Centerville Utah

• For the management of an individual’s property in the event of incapacity: In circumstances where a person is unable to manage their properties or finances due to severe illness or unavailability, an estate plan sets helps a person properly determine how their assets should be managed. A power of attorney, personal directives through letters of instruction and trusts can be effective tools for proper estate management.

• For proper distribution of assets: Estate plan is very beneficial for accurate distribution of an individual’s assets. Wills, codicils, deeds of gifts and trusts enables an individual determine how their assets will be distributed to their beneficiaries after their death to prevent disputations in future. Without an estate plan, the court will determine how the assets of a deceased will be distributed.

• For the protection of beneficiaries: An estate plan invariably protects the interest of beneficiaries by ensuring that their shares are properly specified and preserved. If an individual has a child who is a minor, the individual can designate guardians and trustees who will oversee the financial and other needs of the minor. On the other hand, if the individual’s children are adults, but are unable to manage finances or assets, the individual can create a trust to protect the children from making bad decisions.

• For a speedy and efficient transfer of an individual’s assets: The deed of gift and trusts are very speedy and cost effective ways to transfer one’s assets to a beneficiary. Without proper estate plan, the process of transfer of assets may be extremely cumbersome. Estate planning helps an individual to identify cost effective and peaceful way to transfer their asset to their beneficiaries either during their lifetime or after their death.

• To minimize cost and avoid disputes: An estate plan will specify how an individual’s assets will be managed and distributed to beneficiaries thereby leaving no room for speculations and confusion. Hence this will prevent disputations and invariably save time and money.

• To minimize estate taxes.: The significant loss of a part of one’s estate to the payment of taxes is a factor that should motivate people to establish an estate plan. Through strategic planning, people can substantially reduce or eliminate taxes by setting up trusts as part of their will, living trusts or bequeathing gifts to their beneficiaries during their lifetime.

Difference Between Estate Planning and Drafting a Will

An estate plan is a comprehensive plan that includes documents that are effective during your lifetime as well as other documents that aren’t in effect until your death. Together these documents contemplate who has the power to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf during your life, and who receives your assets at death.
Having a lawyer draft your will is an important piece of the estate planning process, but there are several other important documents. A will details where you want your assets to go at your death, and who you would like to serve as guardian of your minor children. A will also names an executor who is in charge of distributing your assets to the right people or charities.

The other documents that comprise an estate plan include:

• Durable power of attorney, which allows an agent to handle your finances

• Healthcare power of attorney, which allows a named agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated

• Advanced directive, which details your decision about life-prolonging treatment.

These documents combine to form a comprehensive estate plan that can provide you with peace of mind and lessen the burden on your loved ones during difficult times.

Why Almost Everybody Needs Estate Planning Documents In Centerville Utah

1. Without A Will, The State Decides Who Your Heirs Are: Many people assume that if they die without a will, their assets will pass to their family. This may be true in some cases, but not in the way you would think.
Here is an example: A husband dies leaving a wife and children. He may think that everything goes to his wife, who can then leave it to the children. In reality, Centerville Utah says it gets divided between his wife and children immediately, which creates a complicated situation.

2. Without A Will, Property May Pass To Minors: Minors [persons under the age of 18] cannot legally own property. So, if you die and a portion of your estate goes to a minor, a court proceeding must be initiated to appoint a “guardian of the estate” of the minor. This takes time and incurs expense. Furthermore, the guardian will have to file periodic inventories and request permission to expend assets on the minor’s behalf. With a will, a trust can be set up to hold the property for the children until they reach the age of 18 or beyond.

3. Without A Will, Property May Pass To Your “Young Adult” Children: Your children may be over 18, so they can legally receive their inheritance outright. If they are still young adults, however, leaving significant property outright to them might not be the smartest course of action. Again, a trust can hold the assets for the children, and use it for their benefit for education, medical treatment or other expenses and then pay out the remainder over time.

4. Without A Will, The State Decides Who Will Administer Your Estate: If you have a will, you can name your executor, i.e., the person authorized by law to administer your estate by collecting your assets, paying your debts and distributing the remainder to your heirs. You can also name a backup executor, in case the primary executor is unable to serve. Without a will, the State specifies a pecking order of people who can serve. Sometimes there are several people in a group who have equal rights to serve, and there can be a fight as to who will serve.

5. Without A Will, Someone Else Will Decides Who The Guardian Of The Persons Of Your Minor Children Will Be: In addition to having someone to handle the assets of your minor children, there must be someone to take physical custody of them. Without a will, the court will decide who the guardian of your minor children will be. There may be a dispute among family members as to who would be the best choice. Once again, more time spent and expense incurred. With a will, you have the opportunity to name the guardian of your minor children, as well as a backup.

6. An Estate Plan Typically Includes A Financial Power Of Attorney: What happens to your financial affairs in the event of your incapacity? Nothing, unless a court proceeding appoints a “guardian of your estate.” As with a minor child’s estate, the appointment of a guardian of your estate takes time and costs money. In the meantime, bad things can happen. Furthermore, the court decides who will supposedly look after your assets and use them for your benefit

7. An Estate Plan Typically Includes A Healthcare Power Of Attorney: As with your financial matters, someone needs to be able to handle your healthcare decisions in the event you are too sick or injured to handle them yourself. Without a Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA), the court must appoint a guardian to make these decisions. Again, more delay and more expense. By designating a healthcare POA, you can appoint your choice of the person you trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and a back-up.

8. An Estate Plan Will Address Non-Probate Assets: Part of the estate planning process involves reviewing assets that may pass by beneficiary designation, e.g., life insurance and retirement benefits. This ensures that the beneficiary designations are kept up to date rather than passing you your now ex-spouse and the designations are coordinated with the rest of your estate plan; the insurance goes into the trust for the benefit of your children, like your other assets, rather than to them outright] such assets don’t pass through your estate, where they are subject to claims of creditors

Free Initial Consultation For Estate Planning

Our law firm handles all types of cases, so if you have a legal question or concerns, please call Ascent Law for your free 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
Ascent Law LLC

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