Do you know how your life will be divided after your death? Who will your estate go to? Who will look after your children? With an estate plan you decide. You are in control of your family’s security in the event that something tragic should happen. Now perhaps you are a little foggy with some of the fundamental ideas associated with estate planning. Let’s start at the beginning.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law estate planning is:
The arranging for the disposition and management of one’s estate at death through the use of wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other device. Your estate is everything you own, your assets and liabilities. This includes things such as your house, account in your name, your insurance policies, and vehicles. The problem with dying without an effective estate plan is that even if your property is distributed to the proper people, a process known as “probate court” may cost your heirs up to 10% of your assets net value. Also you must take any children that you are the legal guardian of into consideration. If you do not have an estate plan it may be probate court that decides who looks after them after them after you are gone.
You don’t want to let this happen to you and your family. You need an estate plan. Now, in order to start estates planning you are going to need to look into the following options: living wills, revocable living trusts.
A living will is a document in which you can spell out where all of your assets will be going. You may also modify this document at anytime. You are the one in control. This is a great way to avoid probate court.
A living trust allows you to name a person who will handle all of your legal affairs after you pass away. Your trust may either be revocable or irrevocable. Revocable means that, just like a living will, you can modify it at any time. However, in an irrevocable living trust you do not have the ability to change it.
Why Estate Planning Is Crucial for Your Heirs?
The need for estate plan in Nephi, Utah is becoming necessary with the passing years. It is essential to update your estate plan annually. If you cannot upgrade your will or terms of your trust, then your heirs may get into the situation where certain assets fall under Nephi Utah intestate laws. This can result in the distribution of wealth against one’s wish. By consulting a Real Estate Litigation, you can ensure that the issue does not arise in the family. There are many types of pre-prepared documents which can be easily purchased at different stores or through websites. These documents include a pre-formatted trust, will, or power of attorney. Many people prefer having blank form overpaying the cost to an attorney. Sometimes using forms without consulting any authority can give you wrong results.
The incorrect knowledge may lead to issues in your family. The first issue related to these forms is they don’t cover each category. You might miss the point you want to add in your will. This will result in the arising of different conflict issues. For example, you are running of a business, and you are involved in other valued transactions too then these pre-prepared forms are not meant for you, as they don’t cover your every aspect. This could result in not describing your will correctly or passing on your business, in your real estate that is tied up in litigation or any other issues. By retaining a lawyer, you can ensure that your will covers all the specific points and circumstances.
Another important issue regarding self-help forms is one cannot receive legal advice about his situation.
While filling out a pre-prepared form a person may not have any idea about specific laws related to their issues which can create problems in the near future. An experienced estate planning attorney will have a discussion to understand your situation. Then the process of estate planning begins keeping the focus on your situation, and things are handled as efficiently as possible.
Nephi, Utah law provides a Statutory Will Form. It should be filled and appropriately executed to be valid in Nephi. While filling a form, it is highly recommended to take legal advice. Many factors should be focused on while doing estate planning and all these factors should be given legal guidance. With medical, legal and financial issues comes to the forefront, it’s better to have a plan to avoid these troubles for the individual and his family. Even if you don’t believe that estate planning is a priority then too you should have its in-depth knowledge. Always there should be a plan to come out from the unfavorable situations.
How You Can Prepare for Your Estate Planning Meeting
While meeting with an estate planning attorney may not be on your bucket list of items to accomplish during your lifetime or among your New Year’s resolutions, it is not something that you should put off until you are on your death bed. Many individuals are intimidated by the prospect of planning their estate; however, in most cases it is much easier if you come prepared.
A typical Nephi, Utah estate plan consists of the following important documents: Last Will and Testament; Revocable Trust (for many individuals); Power of Attorney; Health Care Surrogate; Living Will; and Pre-Need Guardian Declaration. The Revocable Trust (if one is created), Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, and Pre-Need Guardian Declaration are all designed to operate during your lifetime and provide guidance in how your personal and financial affairs are handled during your lifetime. In contrast, the Revocable Trust and Last Will and Testament control how your property is distributed after your death.
When you meet with your estate planning attorney, they will guide you through the various choices and planning options available to you, so that your legal documents reflect your intentions. In order to make your time with your attorney most productive, the following is a list of things that you should discuss and prepare in advance of the meeting:
• Create a list of your assets and liabilities. This list should include the value of your home (including mortgage), bank accounts, investment accounts, business interests, personal belongings with value (e.g., artwork or jewelry), insurance policies on your life and retirement accounts. For each asset on the list, include an estimate of its value or current balance, as well as whether you own the asset in your individual name or in joint name with another person, such as your spouse or children. This information will assist your attorney in guiding you through the planning process.
• Agents During your Lifetime
• Health Care Surrogate: Who will make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. The individual you name to serve as your health care surrogate will be empowered to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to do so. Thought should be given to whom should be appointed for this position, along with a successor to him or her.
• Power-of-Attorney: Who will take care of your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. The individual you name to serve as your power of attorney will act as your agent with regard to your financial matters during your lifetime. The power of attorney will become effective immediately after you sign it. Thought should be given to whom should be appointed for this position, along with a successor to him or her.
Living Will: End of Life Decisions. The individual you name to serve as your surrogate will act as your agent with regard to your financial matters during your lifetime. The Administration Upon Your Death
• power of attorney will become effective immediately after you sign it. Thought should be given to whom should be appointed for this position, along with a successor to him or her.
Who has the ability and skill to serve as your Personal Representative(s). The individual or professional entity that you select to serve as the Personal Representative of your probate estate will be charged with settling your estate following your death. Their duties will include collecting your assets, paying debts, expenses and any taxes that may be due and then distributing the remaining estate assets to your beneficiaries. With married couples, each spouse typically names the other to serve as their personal representative. The next consideration is who or what entity will serve as their successor, if they fail to survive you or are unable to serve. You may name more than one individual to serve in this role, but under Nephi Utah law they must either be a family member or resident of the state. Most importantly, it is important that the selected individual(s) or entity is trustworthy.
• Who has the ability and skill to serve as your Trustee(s). The individual or professional entity that you select to serve as the trustee of your Trust, upon your death or inability to serve, will be responsible to manage your financial affairs, while you are alive, and settling your financial affairs following your death. Similar to a Personal Representative, their duties will include collecting your assets, paying debts, expenses and any taxes that may be due and then distributing the remaining estate assets to your beneficiaries. With married couples, both spouse’s typically serve as the trustees, while they are capable. The next consideration is who or what entity will serve as their successor, if they fail to survive or are unable to serve. You may name more than one individual to serve in this role, without any restrictions of family membership or resident of the state. Most importantly, it is important that the selected individual(s) or entity is trustworthy.
• Items of Personal Property and to whom they should pass upon your death. Create a written document which states how you would like to dispose of your personal items (wedding ring, jewelry, automobile(s), baseball card collection, etc.) at your death, even if you do not believe they have any monetary value. Without a separate written statement, your personal items will pass to a surviving spouse or be divided equally among your children or beneficiaries. The itemized list can potentially avoid family disputes over items with sentimental but no monetary value.
• Plan for Distribution of your Estate. How, to whom and in what amounts you want your remaining estate assets distributed is the next important decision you will need to consider. Your assets can be distributed to any individual (family member, friend, acquaintance, etc.) or charity you may select. The assets can be distributed outright or over an extended time period (they reach a certain age, until the beneficiary needs or wants funds, etc.). There is no wrong decision as you are free to distribute your assets as you choose.
Dissolving a Marriage – Estate Planning and Divorce
Separation allows for the end of accumulation of community property, so each spouse can acquire property separately. However, it does not terminate the duty of highest good faith and fair dealing that every person owes to their spouse. This applies to all marital assets of whatever general character. However, there are several tools an estate planner can use as a means to protect a spouses property while making sure they do not violate their fiduciary duties.
A Temporary or Conditional Will
This type of will is a sound idea, it can either change an existing will or republish an existing will due to a section that revokes an existing will on dissolving a marriage, unless the will provides otherwise.
A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement executed after a couple gets married, or have entered into a civil union, to settle the couple’s affairs and assets in the event of a separation or divorce.
Creation of a Separate Property Trust
Separate trusts hold each spouse’s separate property estate. This includes property received as a gift or an inheritance, obtained before the marriage, and property purchased with those assets.
During Divorce Proceedings
During divorce proceedings it is good to get standard or automatic temporary restraining orders. These orders preclude transfers, or disposal of community or separate property without the written consent of the other party or from a court of law. However, it is key to note there are certain changes that a spouse can make despite the restraining orders. A spouse may create, modify or revoke a will; revoke a living trust as long as the notice of change is filed and served on the other party; eliminate a right of survivorship to property; and create an unfunded revocable or irrevocable trust. When a person is in the process of divorce he or she needs to consider revoking and creating a new will as soon as one files the petition for divorce. He or she also needs to consider trusts, joint tenancies, and payable-on-death accounts. One other option a party has during a divorce is to create an unfunded trust. This serves as a recipient for property subsequently received that is subject to pour over provisions in a new will.
After the Dissolution of the Marriage
The entry of a marriage dissolution judgment automatically revokes all testamentary distributions regarding the former spouse. Although a newly divorced person may feel secure in their knowledge that the dissolution will ensure that the former spouse will be disinherited in an existing trust or will, the judgment also can create concerns in a person’s estate plan. For example one should revise all beneficiary designations in retirement plans (IRAs, Roth, SEPs, 401k, etc.) and life insurance. An estate planning attorney can help newly divorced spouses create all the appropriate documents such as a new revocable separate property living trust, pour over will, trust transfer deed, if needed, assignment of assets, power of attorney, and advance healthcare directives. By doing this, the newly divorced person will now have provided for a current estate plan, post marriage.
In addition, if the newly divorced spouse has a new spouse or domestic partner in the wings, it is a perfect time for them to seriously consider the preparation of a premarital agreement. This agreement will preserve the separate character or their assets, determine the character of new earnings, and handle matters such as spousal support and succession to property on death. It also may be important for the person to consider provisions in the living trust for the new mate. Preparing for the complexities surrounding the intersection of divorce, death and disposition of property are essential and necessary to enable an estate plan to remain effective. If you are considering divorce, or are recently divorced, you should seek advice from an attorney knowledgeable in these issues. It is imperative that you address these matters especially changing beneficiaries on various investments, retirements’ plans, and insurance policies.
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