A Last Will and Testament, most often referred to as a will, is a legal document that outlines one’s wishes regarding assets and property and also assigns one or more persons to manage the estate, upon one’s death.
When a person dies with a will, this becomes a public document and a hearing is held on whether the Will should be followed. Some wills are contested, and law school textbooks are full of the examples of how and why these documents are fought, challenged, and the inheritance spent, all in court battles over language, terminology, and enforceability. It is important to make sure your will is clear and legally sound, to prevent any future disputes.
For experienced help in drafting, reviewing, or editing a will, call (800) 265-2314. Pearson Butler serves clients across Utah in all areas of estate planning.
Dying Without a Will
When an adult dies without a will, he or she is said to have died “intestate.” The courts and not the person’s surviving loved ones will determine how property is divided, based on the intestate succession laws of the state in which the person lived.
The following intestate succession laws apply in Utah:
- If you have a spouse and no children, or your children are shared with your surviving spouse, your surviving spouse will inherit everything.
- If you have children but no spouse, your children will inherit everything.
- If you have a spouse and children from you and someone other than your spouse, your spouse will inherit the first $75,000, plus half of the balance, and your children will inherit everything else.
- If you have parents but no spouse or descendants, your parents will inherit everything.
- If you have siblings but no descendants or parents, your siblings will inherit everything.
Take All Appropriate Measures to Protect Your Wishes & Assets
A comprehensive estate plan drafted by a skilled attorney may do far more for your family than just a Last Will and Testament. With a trust, for example, you may be able to avoid probate, avoid the courts, and avoid public records – most of the costly issues that come up when you leave your estate to the courts. The team of experienced Utah estate planning attorneys at Pearson Butler can talk to you not only about a will but about every option available to you in preserving your assets, carrying out your wishes, and protecting your loved ones.
Call (800) 265-2314 today to schedule your consultation. From offices in American Fork, South Jordan, and Bountiful, Pearson Butler serves all of Utah.