In Utah, if you pass away without a will, you are considered to have died “intestate,” which means that the state’s laws will dictate how your estate is distributed. After all creditors and tax authorities have been satisfied, the remainder of your assets will be distributed as follows, according to Utah’s intestate succession laws:
It’s crucial to have a valid will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your specific wishes rather than relying on Utah’s intestacy laws.
Utah law allows anybody over age 18 to create a will as long as they are mentally competent. There are two basic types of wills:
An estate planning professional will recommend a witnessed will as the safer way to go.
A joint will is made between two people, each leaving all their property and assets to the other. It also stipulates who will inherit the assets when the second person dies. Once the first person dies, the joint will cannot be altered.
This approach does not offer great flexibility. For instance, say Dad passes and his son becomes a multimillionaire, while his daughter becomes impoverished. Mom cannot change the joint will to favor the needy daughter.
While a living trust is a type of trust, a living will isn’t really a will: It’s a statement that specifies the types of care you do or don’t want if you become incapacitated. Combining a living will with a durable power of attorney, which lets you name someone to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated, creates an advance healthcare directive.
The primary reasons to challenge any will include:
Challenging a will requires caution: Some wills carry a penalty clause stating that any beneficiary who contests the will and loses will lose their inheritance. But under Utah law, you cannot be punished if you have a legitimate reason for objecting.
A will that is formally probated can be challenged during the four-month to two-year period probate typically requires, but it cannot be challenged once probate closes. Wills informally probated are challengeable for up to three years after the decedent’s death.
Wills that are probated formally are those that are more complex and require a court hearing to either open or close their probate period. But when an estate has limited assets, probate may dispense with the court hearing. It’s up to the will’s executor or administrator to consult state guidelines to determine whether a will should be formally or informally probated.
In contesting an informally probated will for you, Fillmore Spencer LLC argues why the informal probate process or a recent informal probate decision should be set aside and replaced with a formal proceeding and then serves notice of the challenge to:
The most successful legacies are those underpinned by a well-constructed foundation. Meet with Fillmore Spencer LLC’s estate planning attorneys to discuss your needs by calling us at (801) 921-6562 or contacting us online and arranging for a free initial consultation.
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