Utah Estate Planning Attorneys
It’s Never Too Early to Start Preparing for the Future
Far too many people put off estate planning until it is too late, or do not think about estate planning at all. You and your family deserve better than having to abide by default laws that apply at the end of your life and after your death. A comprehensive estate plan gives you control over your own legacy – on your terms.
Pearson Butler deals extensively with estate planning matters. The firm’s Utah estate plan attorneys can answer questions you may have regarding any aspect of this complex area of law. In collaboration with you, your attorney can create an estate plan to accomplish your goals and give you peace of mind.
Pearson Butler provides the following estate planning services, and more:
- Asset protection and business planning
- Farm or family business planning
- Trust administration and probate
- Incapacity planning
- Legacy planning
- Retirement planning
- Special needs planning
- Powers of attorney
- Pet planning
- Income tax planning
- Estate and gift tax planning
- Medicare and Medicaid planning
- Veteran planning
- Business succession planning
- Charitable planning
- Utah Asset Protection Trust help
- Foreign trusts
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a process that involves making advanced plans for end-of-life issues, and for property and assets when one passes away.
Any person may become sick or hurt, creating a situation where they need nursing care or where tough choices must be made about medical treatment. Every person will eventually pass away, which could cause undue problems if no plans have been made regarding assets and property.
Estate planning utilizes legal and financial tools to address the issues that arise in case of illness, incapacity, and death. The planning process is different for everyone, because you may have your own unique goals, like supporting a charity or paying for your child’s college education.
A good attorney will listen carefully to you, ask questions that help you to shape the estate planning process, and assist you in using the right tools.
An estate plan may involve the following steps:
- Creating a last will and testament.
- Creating trusts to protect assets during your lifetime and from loss by irresponsible heirs after your death.
- Creating advanced directives for healthcare, including a do not resuscitate order and/or a living will.
- Creating a power of attorney to give someone authority to act for you if you become incapacitated.
What Factors Should I Consider with My Estate Plan?
Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets and affairs after your death or in the event of your incapacity. A well-thought-out estate plan can help ensure that your wishes are carried out, minimize estate taxes and probate costs, and provide for your loved ones.
Here are some key factors to consider in your estate plan:
- Financial Goals and Objectives: Clearly define your financial objectives and goals, such as providing for your family's financial security, minimizing estate taxes, or supporting charitable causes.
- Will or Trust: Decide whether you need a will, a trust, or both. A will specifies how your assets should be distributed after your death, while a trust can provide additional flexibility and control, especially for complex estates.
- Beneficiaries: Determine who will inherit your assets. This includes family members, friends, charities, and any other beneficiaries you wish to include.
- Executor or Trustee: Appoint someone you trust to manage your estate or trust. This person, known as an executor (for a will) or trustee (for a trust), will carry out your wishes and handle administrative tasks.
- Guardianship: If you have minor children, designate a guardian who will care for them in the event of your death or incapacity.
- Healthcare Directives: Create advanced healthcare directives, such as a living will and a healthcare proxy, to specify your medical treatment preferences and designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot.
- Power of Attorney: Appoint an agent through a durable power of attorney to handle financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated.
- Asset Inventory: Make a comprehensive list of your assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and personal property.
- Life Insurance: Consider whether life insurance is necessary to provide for your loved ones or cover estate tax liabilities.
- Estate Tax Planning: Be aware of the estate tax laws in your jurisdiction and explore strategies to minimize estate taxes, such as gifting, establishing trusts, or utilizing the applicable estate tax exemption.
- Charitable Giving: If you wish to support charitable causes, plan how to incorporate philanthropy into your estate plan, which can include setting up charitable trusts or bequests in your will.
- Business Succession: If you own a business, develop a succession plan to ensure its smooth transition to the next generation or a designated successor.
- Digital Assets: Account for your digital assets, including online accounts, social media profiles, and cryptocurrency holdings. Specify how these should be managed or transferred.
- Review and Update: Regularly review and update your estate plan to reflect changes in your life circumstances, financial situation, and laws.
- Professional Advice: Consult with legal, financial, and tax professionals to ensure your estate plan is legally sound and optimally structured for your unique situation.
- Family Dynamics: Consider family dynamics and potential conflicts to make informed decisions about asset distribution and responsibilities.
- Funeral and Burial Wishes: Communicate your preferences for your funeral and burial arrangements to your loved ones or include them in your estate plan.
- Location of Documents: Ensure that your important estate planning documents are easily accessible to your trusted individuals and loved ones.
When Should I Make an Estate Plan?
It is important to make an estate plan as soon as you have assets, have anyone depending upon you, or have become an adult with your own opinions about your medical care. Many people mistakenly believe estate planning isn’t something they need to worry about yet, but this is simply not true.
It is wise to create an estate plan if any of the following are true:
- You have a spouse and/or child you want to be provided for if something happens to you.
- You have a child or children and you want to name a guardian for them, should you pass away.
- You want to plan ahead for your medical care, just in case you become incapacitated.
- You have strong opinions about your end-of-life care.
- You want to be sure your wishes are carried out to the letter regarding your assets/property.
- You want to protect your assets from estate taxes, lawsuits, and creditors.
- You want to qualify for Medicaid in the future, without “spending down” your assets.
Life is uncertain. You don’t want your assets losing value because of mismanagement or your family fighting over your property if something unexpected happens to you. Your estate plan can address issues like reducing or avoiding estate taxes, dealing with irresponsible heirs, and making sure you have a trusted person who will take care of your kids in case you pass away. Whatever your goals, estate planning can help you achieve them.