Estate planning entails preparing for the transfer of a person’s assets and wealth in the event the latter becomes incapacitated or dead. Estate planning entails much more than preparing a will alone. An estate plan covers transfer of assets some of which could take effect once such asset is created and after the death of the owner.
Why Create An Estate Plan?
An estate plan comes with a lot of advantages;
• Assets are distributed according to wishes and even minors are taken care of.
• If properly managed, the value of the estate can be maximized for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
• Transfer of estate is done effectively.
• Reduces tax charges on assets.
An estate is the real and/or personal property a person possesses at death. The practice area of estate planning law involves the drafting of living wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents to facilitate the transfer and management of property after death. When estates aren’t managed and someone dies without a will, their possessions will be distributed to their next of kin. By not making a will or otherwise making estate plans, the individual gives up control of their estate and has no say in how the property is divided.
Terms used in Taylorsville Utah
There are key terms to know that help to understand estate planning law, including the following:
• Intestate: Having not made a valid will before death; not disposing of property of by a valid will.
• Advance Directive: A document (as a living will or durable power of attorney) in which a person expresses his or her wishes regarding medical treatment in the event of incapacitation.
• Probate: The legal process of transferring of property upon a person’s death, particularly in the absence of a will.
• Real Property: Property consisting of land, buildings, crops, or other resources still attached to or within the land or improvements; or fixtures permanently attached to the land or a structure on it.
• Inheritance: The act of inheriting, as the acquisition of real or personal property under the laws of intestacy or sometimes by a will.
Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Depending on the complexity of the estate, the health of the individual, and other factors, practically everyone may need the services of an estate planning lawyer at some point. Sometimes individuals will work with a lawyer on behalf of a relative or loved one who is no longer able to manage their own affairs. After having children, some families decide to create a trust, which is a document similar to a will, but also helps manage property before death. Some common reasons for hiring an estate planning lawyer include the need to create:
• Trusts: Legal/fiduciary arrangement in which one party holds legal title to another’s property, as a trustee, and manages the property for them on their behalf; similar to a will, but dictates how assets are to be transferred or used during life (for instance, children may obtain certain assets prior to their parents’ death).
• Wills: Legal document specifying how an individual’s property and affairs are to be transferred and managed after death.
• Living Wills: Legal document outlining medical and end-of-life preferences in the event that you are unable to communicate these wishes.
• An Overall Estate Plan: Estate planning attorneys often work with clients in a more comprehensive way, by assessing an individual’s estate, asking about preferences and life goals, and advising on the client’s options.
A will can help make the transition after a loss as painless as possible for your loved ones. Your property will be transferred quickly and many tax burdens can be avoided. Wills typically describe the estate, name individuals who will receive specific property, and dictate any special instructions you may have. Depending on your wishes and the size of your estate, your will could be anywhere from a single page to a lengthy document. While a will allows you to express your financial wishes once you’re gone, a living will expresses your health care preferences while you’re still alive. With a living will, you’ll be able to designate the medical treatment you wish to receive, should you become unable to communicate your wishes due to illness or incapacitation. A health care power of attorney, on the other hand, allows you to designate a person who can make medical or end-of-life decisions on your behalf. Trusts are another estate planning tool you can use to manage your property and avoid tax burdens. A trust can either be created during a person’s lifetime, or after death, by a will. There are a number of different types of trusts serving a wide range of functions. An asset protection trust, for example, is designed to protect a person’s assets from future creditors. A charitable trust, on the other hand, is used to benefit a particular charity or cause.
All Estate Plans Are Not Created Equal
The cost of your estate plan varies with which documents you need and with the complexity of each document.
These documents are the estate planner’s tools. A good estate planning attorney in Taylorsville Utah will recommend a combination of those tools and help you prepare a strategy to make the tools work together.
Example 1: A young couple of average wealth with small children will need an estate plan that focuses on guardianship and maximizing financial security in the event the parents pass away at a young age. This plan requires straightforward documents like a will, appointment of guardianship, and perhaps a basic living trust.
Example 2: In contrast, a wealthy individual with children from multiple relationships will need a plan that focuses on wealth management and legacy planning with careful consideration of family dynamics. This plan requires more skill in both strategic planning and document drafting, potentially involving multiple types of trusts, powers of appointment, and powers of attorney.
Keep in mind that fees for estate planning are not just a function of the time your attorney spends drafting documents. Good estate planning attorneys use their skills, knowledge, and expertise to construct a holistic plan that will help you accomplish your unique estate planning goals. You will pay more for the work of a more experienced estate planning attorney who can provide a complex plan. If you do not need a complex plan, consider finding an attorney who focuses on plans for simpler estates.
Types of Fees for Estate Planning
Lawyers use different types of fees for different services, and the way you pay your attorney has a big impact on how much you will end up paying for your estate plan. Lawyers typically use one of three common rate structures –flat fees, the billable hour, or contingency fees.
Flat fees are used when your attorney can quickly assess your needs and know what type of estate plan you require. Your estate planning attorney can look at your financial status, family situation, and any special considerations and know what planning tools you will need. For these common cases, your attorney may offer a flat fee arrangement—that is, a firm price to complete all of your estate planning work. You may be asked to pay this amount, or part of this amount, before work begins.
A typical flat fee estate plan includes the most common estate planning tools such as:
• a simple will
• a powers of attorney for finances and property
• a power of attorney for healthcare decisions
• a living will outlining end of life decisions, and
• an appointment of guardianship for parents.
While this typical estate planning bundle, not all flat fee arrangements are identical. When agreeing to a flat fee, be sure you understand what documents and services are included in your estate plan.
The Billable Hour
For plans that don’t fit into one of those common flat fee categories, your estate planning attorney will likely charge an hourly rate for the time they spend thinking about, working on, and meeting with you about your case. When charging an hourly fee, your attorney may ask you to provide a retainer before starting work on your case. A retainer is a prepayment of fees that the attorney will draw from as they work on your case. Retainer policies vary among attorneys and law firms. Your attorney may ask for a retainer of the entire expected cost of creating your estate plan. Or, your attorney may ask for just a portion of that amount (maybe one-half) and then bill you for the rest later. Estate planning attorneys often use a billable hour if they anticipate your estate plan will require extra sophistication in planning or time coordinating with other professionals (for example, your financial planner). If your attorney cannot confidently predict the cost of your estate plan, they will charge an hourly rate that reflects their knowledge and expertise in the estate planning field. Location also factors into your attorney’s hourly rate. Generally, attorneys in metropolitan areas charge higher hourly rates than attorneys in less populated areas. Hourly rates also vary from state to state.
Estate planning attorneys typically do not use contingency fees. Contingency fee arrangements work best in cases where your attorney is trying to win you money in a lawsuit or settlement. For example, you agree to pay the attorney a portion (typically one-third) of whatever the attorney can get for you. If you get $15,000 in a settlement negotiated by your attorney, you would pay $5,000. Because estate planning isn’t adversarial you’re not fighting another person contingency fees don’t make sense. However, probate attorneys might use a form of contingency fee for helping you settle an estate.
Get It In Writing
No matter which type of fee arrangement your attorney uses, make sure you get it in writing! Your attorney should offer you an engagement letter that details:
• fees and payment terms
• the scope of work your attorney will do (i.e., what estate planning documents are included in your plan)
• confidentiality requirements, and\
• any agreements about conflict resolution.
This is the contract between you and your attorney. If your attorney does not provide an engagement letter like this, ask for one. You and your attorney should sign the agreement before work begins.
Who Does the Work?
A final factor that contributes to the cost of your estate plan is who actually performs the work. This can vary depending upon the type of lawyer or law firm you hire. If you hire a solo attorney or a small firm, your attorney typically handles much of the work on your case and will charge you their hourly rate for all the work. If you hire an attorney from a larger law firm, your attorney will typically delegate some tasks to junior attorneys, paralegals, or other staff. This is particularly true if common, formulaic documents fit your estate plan’s needs. This division of labor isn’t necessarily a bad thing for you. Junior attorneys, paralegals, and staff have hourly rates much lower than the experienced senior attorney who conducted your first meeting. Having staff complete tasks under the supervision of that senior attorney saves you money while also allowing you to take advantage of that senior attorney’s experience and knowledge. Some attorneys may prepare a simple will or power of attorney for as little as $150 or $200. On average, experienced attorneys may charge $250 or $350 per hour to prepare more sophisticated estate plans. You could spend several thousand dollars to work with such an attorney.
Finding an Estate Planning Lawyer in Taylorsville Utah
Some lawyers specialize in estate planning or even in certain types of estate planning. You will want to hire a specialist if you have a complex issue, such as an issue involving taxes, government benefits, or beneficiaries who are foreign nationals. The laws governing trusts and estate taxes change frequently, so your attorney will need to be up to date on the precise federal and state requirements. If you are just looking for basic advice on relatively standard estate planning instruments, you may be able to cut costs by hiring a lawyer who is not a specialist. As with any lawyer whom you hire for any legal matter, you should find an attorney who is a good personality fit for you. They should be compassionate to your situation and sensitive to your needs. The process should remove rather than add stress, unlike many other legal matters. You may be able to get a referral from a family member or a personal acquaintance whom you trust, or from a business or organization in which you are involved. If you have retained a lawyer for a different type of legal matter in the past, they may be able to refer you to a lawyer who handles estate planning. Any of these sources likely will produce better results than a generic referral from a bar association or lawyer referral service.
Regardless of how much you trust your referral source, however, you should make sure that you personally feel comfortable with the lawyer and confident in their abilities. To make sure that you do not face unanticipated costs, you will want to put your fee agreement with the lawyer in writing before they start providing services to you. They should give you their hourly fees and an estimate of the time that they expect to spend assisting you.
Essential Estate Planning Documents
• Last Will and Testament: A last will and testament allows you to set out your specific wishes for how you want your property and assets to be divided upon your death. It also designates who will assume guardianship responsibility of any minor children if neither parent can serve as guardian. You can use a will to make bequests to charities. Last wills are easy to prepare, but are subjected to probate process, which, depending on the size of your estate, could take some time.
• Codicil to Will: You should update your will every few years or so, especially when a major change takes place, like a birth, death, marriage or divorce. If you find that you don’t need to change very much about your will, you don’t have to write a completely new one; instead, you can amend your existing last will with a codicil.
• Living Will: A living will is a legal document used to specify your wishes for end-of-term health care decisions. It states that you do not want life-prolonging treatment if there is no hope of recovery, for example in the event of terminal illness or irreversible coma. Having a living will let others know what your wishes are when you are unable to communicate them yourself.
• Living Trust: A living trust is like a will in that you can specify how you want your assets to be divided after your death. You actually transfer your property and assets to the trust during your lifetime, but they can pass directly to your beneficiaries upon your death without going through probate. If you are married, you can also set up a joint living trust with your spouse.
• Transfer on Death Deed: In many states, you can transfer your home or other property with a transfer on death deed. This allows your beneficiaries to avoid the lengthy probate process. It’s not available everywhere, so double-check our ” What is a Transfer on Death Deed?” article to find out if this form is available where you live.
• Durable Power of Attorney: You can grant a power of attorney to another person (called your agent) for any case where you cannot represent your own interests. For example, you can send an agent to an important meeting you are unable to attend, and they may act on your behalf for the duration of that meeting. A durable power of attorney, on the other hand, remains in effect if you become incompetent. In cases of terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness, you can set out health care directives for your agent, much like in a living will.
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!
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|Incorporated||July 1, 1996|
|Named for||John Taylor|
|• Mayor||Kristie Overson|
|• City Council||Ernest Burgess, Anna Barbieri, Meredith Harker, Curt Cochran & Bob Knudsen|
|• Presiding Judge||Christopher Bown|
|• Total||10.85 sq mi (28.10 km2)|
|• Land||10.85 sq mi (28.10 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
||4,295 ft (1,309 m)|
|• Density||5,571.24/sq mi (2,151.17/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
|Area code(s)||385, 801|
|GNIS feature ID||1433206|
Taylorsville is a city in Salt Lake County, Utah. It is part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The population was 60,448 at the time of the 2020 census. Taylorsville was incorporated from the Taylorsville–Bennion CDP and portions of the Kearns metro township on July 1, 1996. The city is located adjacent to Interstate 215 and Bangerter Highway. It is located in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley.