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Estate Planning

Estate Planning

We get questions from potential client a lot around here. Some of the more common questions about an estate plan include the following:

What is an Estate Plan?

When the phrase “Estate Plan” is used, it most commonly refers to the documents outlining a person’s wishes for their estate (i.e. property) in the event of their incapacity or death. These documents tend to focus around the distribution of property to heirs.

What documents are included?

Although every estate plan is different. For a single person, they commonly include a will, trust, power of attorney, and advance health care directives (i.e. living will). For a couple they often include two wills, two powers of attorney, one trust, and two advance health care directives.

When do I need it?

You need an estate plan when you have property that needs to be distributed when you die. People often forget that they have a distribution plan that is not automatically followed by the law. Wills and trusts are the legal method of telling the people left behind who should receive your property and under what conditions. Additionally, everyone might benefit from advance health care directives and a power of attorney as well.

What are my alternatives?

Although there are many variations of an estate plan, there are alternatives. One could simply not plan at all. When a person has no written plan, they leave their family and heirs to either fight over the remaining property or follow the state default plan. In Utah the default plan prefers, in simplistic terms, the spouse first, then the children equally, then the grandchildren equally. This lack of planning is called intestate succession. The rules of intestacy in Utah are found in Utah Code Title 75, Chapter 2.

What other documents might be included in an estate plan?

Your estate plan may additionally include deeds to real property, assignments of interests in property, business formations, contracts, and more. Most of these other documents fund your assets into your trust or trusts.

Do I need an attorney do draft estate planning documents?

In Utah, one may draft their own estate plan documents. A personal can also use forms purchased or free online and found in other places. The advantage you receive when you hire an attorney includes more experience and customization than you will receive from standard forms. Your attorney also provides additional insights and ideas you may not have thought of on your own.

To see what estate planning attorney Paul Maxfield can do for you, call Maxfield Law today: (385) 298-0700