Here’s what happens if you have no Estate Plan and Living Trust: people you love will likely have to go to what’s called “probate court” to fight over their rights not just to your house, but your bank accounts, your investments, and maybe even guardianship of your minor children and other dependents. If you’re still alive, but incapacitated, they may be forced to stand by your bedside and fight over who will take control of all those parts of your life, and about who will make health and end-of-life decisions for you as well. When any of your loved ones go to court for any of these reasons, it usually ends up costing a lot of money. Really a lot of money. Often along with months, even years, of everyone’s time. Not to mention that somewhere along the road, even the closest family relationships may be destroyed.
Can My Children Make an Estate Plan for Me After I Die?
After you get very sick or you die, it’s too late to make an Estate Plan. Your children cannot create a plan after you are gone or incapacitated. Far too often, our office gets calls from children asking what to do if their parents made a plan but didn’t sign it—or left no documents at all. Sadly, we have to tell them they’re probably headed to court. Only you can make an Estate Plan and create your Living Trust, and only when you are alive and coherent. Without the carefully designed, fully signed and witnessed documents in a complete Estate Plan, your wishes, which you assumed “everyone understood” will likely carry no legal weight. You need to do this, and you need to do it now.
What Does a Good Mapleton Estate Planning Lawyer Do?
Even for an experienced estate planning attorney, Mapleton presents a special challenge, including specific strategies to keep Proposition 13 tax caps, deal with Medi-Cal issues, and much more. Simply searching “estate planning lawyer Mapleton” is not enough. The best kind of Estate Lawyer will have specific Mapleton Utah experience, and they will sit down to really understand your family makeup and concerns. They’ll dig deep to clarify the specific issues, in your particular situation, which you and your loved ones will face when the inevitable occurs. Complete estate planning in Mapleton Utah must also include getting a full picture of your assets to do serious tax planning for you and your heirs. Every good Estate Plan is a custom event, taking into account your current family structure, along with up-to-the-minute tax law and recent court decisions. A good Estate Lawyer will also work with you as the years go by to keep your plan and Living Trust up-to-date and relevant. No automated Estate Planning Tool or “Mapleton Utah Living Trust Template” can do this right.
Googling “estate planning Mapleton Utah” and trying to do it yourself may well lead to disasters for your loved ones, decades in the future.
Is a Last Will and Testament Enough for an Estate Plan?
In Mapleton Utah, a Last Will and Testament is not an Estate Plan—in fact, it’s not really a legally binding document! In practice, a Will is little more than a letter you write to a probate judge expressing your desires. That judge, whom you will never meet, will actually decide. And a Will does nothing to clarify what happens if you are merely incapacitated. With just a Will, perhaps created by downloading some kind of Mapleton Utah Last Will and Testament Template, your heirs will probably need to spend a lot of money on lawyers, court fees, and likely 6-18 months in probate. No tax planning will have occurred, which may in itself create a disaster for your heirs.
What Are the Parts of a Mapleton Utah Estate Plan?
A complete Mapleton Utah Estate Plan is a highly customized set of documents which generally includes a Living Trust, a Pour-Over Will, Durable Powers of Attorney for Property and Healthcare, a “HIPAA” authorization, a Living Will/Advance Healthcare Directive, Deeds to your properties, Beneficiary Designations on life insurance, annuities, IRAs, 401(k)s, Guardian Nominations for your minor children and incapacitated dependents, and perhaps more. All of these documents must be signed and carefully archived so they can be found when you die or become incapacitated. Some of these will be standard Mapleton Utah estate planning forms, but most will be specially drafted for your circumstances. After the documents are signed, the Living Trust must be funded, and forms must be updated at your financial institutions.
Mapleton Utah Living Trust
For most people, a Mapleton Living Trust lies at the heart of their Estate Plan. Sometimes, attorneys will create separate Living Trusts for spouses, and sometimes joint trusts, depending on their circumstances. This type of trust is called “living,” because it goes into effect and protects you even while you are alive. It also lives on past your own death, and in some cases, beyond the death of your immediate heirs.
A Living Trust is a legally defined “box” into which you place certain kinds of assets so that you and your “successor trustees” have control over those assets. A Living Trust anticipates your incapacity and death and puts into place your long-term wishes. A Living Trust is not a legal fiction, but a well-recognized mechanism in American society which has proven itself as the best way to plan your estate and protect your legacy for the people and causes you care about.
A Living Trust anticipates your incapacity and death and puts into place your long-term wishes.
During your lifetime, you have complete control over this box, and you can change it because it is a “Revocable Living Trust.” Crucially, however, when you become incapacitated or die, a Living Trust can be easily handed to the next generation—usually with no involvement of a court or a judge.
Mapleton Utah Durable Powers of Attorney for Property
“Powers of Attorney” have nothing to do with actual “attorneys” or lawyers. Rather, these vital documents say, “If I get sick, such-and-such persons have a continuing (durable) power to take care of things that aren’t in my Living Trust. This person can collect a registered letter from the post office on my behalf, pay my bills, and choose a nursing home for me. This other person can make decisions for my business and my financial holdings. This third person can deal with my IRA, 401(k), 403(b), digital assets, Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog, Instagram, Dropbox, and other social media accounts.” In Mapleton Utah, these people are called an “attorney-in-fact.” Again, nothing to do with actual lawyers.
What Are Mapleton Utah Durable Powers of Attorney for Healthcare (Healthcare Agent)?
Another key document in your Estate Plan will designate “durable powers of attorney for healthcare decisions” for when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. Should the doctor try that new operation? Continue chemotherapy? These documents can have different names in different states, like “advance healthcare directive” or “physician’s directive.” In Mapleton Utah, the person you give this power is sometimes called your “healthcare agent.” But if you don’t decide whom to entrust with these decisions, someone else will. Why? Because the decisions will have to be made, even if you are just out of action for a few hours on the operating table. Wouldn’t you rather choose who makes these decisions, rather than leaving it to a doctor, a “hospitalist,” or a judge?
What Is a Living Will in Mapleton Utah?
A Mapleton Utah Living Will (not to be confused with a Living Trust) states your desires in case of truly extreme medical situations, and your attorney can discuss specific issues with you in detail—including how the scenarios usually play out in real life. You can think of a Living Will as a permission slip that you give your loved ones to let you go when it’s your time. But it gives you the opportunity to say a lot more than, “If I’m a goner, pull the plug.” It allows you to say, for example, whether you want breathing and feeding tubes – all decisions you may care deeply about. Dying “intestate” means dying without a Will – an often disastrous situation for everyone you leave behind. Without a Living Will, you are likely setting your loved ones up for even more excruciating decisions, and possible guilt—as well as your own possible suffering.
How Do I Designate a Guardian for My Children in?
Most people care deeply about the future of their minor (under the age of eighteen) children. If you have minor children, it is part of your fundamental responsibility as a parent to create documents that nominate a guardian (and backups!) if you are dead or are otherwise disabled. If you have nominated a guardian in your estate plan, it’s very likely (though not guaranteed) that the court will follow your wishes. Importantly, guardianship comes in two flavors: Physical custody is one kind of guardianship. This is a guardianship of a person. The other is guardianship of the estate. This is a guardian in charge of the money. Courts generally separate these two responsibilities, and you may wish to separate them in your estate plan.
What Is a Mapleton Utah Pour-Over Will?
Part of a Mapleton Utah Estate Plan is a Pour-Over Will that leaves everything that may not be in your Living Trust at death (but should be) to your trust. For example, if a lender requires you to take your home out of your trust to refinance the mortgage and you forget to transfer the property back into the trust by deed, your Pour-Over Will is there to make sure that the home is distributed under the terms of the trust, rather than your state’s laws of intestacy. Dying “intestate” means dying without a Will – an often disastrous situation for everyone you leave behind.
What is a Mapleton Utah HIPAA Document?
A HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) authorization allows designees access to your healthcare documents. Think about how important such a document might be: You might not want a home health worker making medical decisions for you, but you might want him or her to be able to pick up a lab report and talk to a nurse about your care. If no such authorization exists, you are definitely creating an unnecessary problem for your own well-being.
What Other Documents Might Your Mapleton Utah Estate Plan Need?
More documents will be created by your Mapleton Utah Estate Planning Attorney, depending on your specific circumstances. This may include asset protections for people anticipating divorce, bankruptcy, or lawsuits involving themselves or their heirs. Special Trusts and strategies will be required to protect special-needs and disabled beneficiaries. The important thing to remember is that an “estate plan” is not one document, but a collection of appointments, nominations, and directives that determine who will do what, and how your stuff will move from point A to point B. Once again, this is not a simple or static collection of documents, but one that must be properly created, archived, maintained, and updated over time.
Tasks An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help With
Estate planning attorneys, also referred to as estate law attorneys or probate attorneys, are experienced and licensed law professionals with a thorough understanding of the state and federal laws that affect how your estate will be inventoried, valued, dispersed, and taxed after your death. In addition to educating you about the probate process, an estate planning attorney can assist you with the following tasks:
• Creating a will
• Designating your beneficiaries
• Establishing durable power of attorney and medical durable power of attorney
• Finding ways to reduce and avoid estate tax when possible
• Finding ways to avoid the probate court process
• Setting up any trusts you might need to protect your assets, both for your own benefit during your lifetime in the event of incapacity, and for the benefit of your beneficiaries after your death.
Estate planning attorneys often charge a flat fee to help you craft binding legal documents such as wills and durable power of attorney, but they can also be employed on an hourly basis to help you maintain your estate, act on your behalf to handle disputes when called upon, and ensure that your will is carried out according to plan when required. An estate planning attorney can also be called upon to guide anyone with power of attorney over a recently deceased person’s estate through the process of probate court. In fact, a good estate planning attorney may be able to help you avoid probate court altogether, but that largely depends on the type of assets in the deceased’s estate and how they are legally allowed to be transferred. In the event that a beneficiary (or even an individual not designated as a beneficiary) announces that he or she plans to contest the will and sue the estate of a deceased family member or loved one that you also stand to benefit from, it might be in your best interest to consult an estate planning attorney immediately. Such lawsuits can quickly drain the estate’s funds and leave all beneficiaries a little worse for the wear.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506