Estate Planning FAQ for the State of Utah

Utah Estate Planning FAQ

If you live in Utah and are planning your estate, you may have questions about what is and is not allowed under Utah law. This blog post will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about estate planning in Utah.

Q: What is estate planning?

A: Estate planning is the process of making arrangements for the management and disbursement of your assets during your lifetime and after your death. Estate planning with the help of an attorney can help you to control how your assets are distributed, help minimize the taxes and other expenses that may be payable on your death, and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Estate planning is a complex process, and you should consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate plan meets your needs and those of your beneficiaries.

Q: Can I revoke my will or trust?

A: It is possible to revoke your will or trust, but it is not always advisable to do so. If you have named specific beneficiaries in your will or trust, and you later wish to change the beneficiaries, it is best to consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific estate plan. Revoking your will or trust can be a complex process, and it is important to understand the potential consequences before taking any action.

Q: What happens if I die without a will or trust?

A: If you die without a will, it is called dying intestate. The laws of intestacy will determine how your property is distributed. This may not be how you would have wanted your property to be distributed. Dyeing without creating a proper will or trust means you will not be able to choose your heirs or determine the future of your estate assets.

Q: Who needs estate planning?

A: Estate planning is often thought of as something that is only necessary for the very wealthy. However, everyone can benefit from having a plan in place for what will happen to their assets after they die. Without a plan, your assets may not go to the people or causes that you wish. Estate planning can also help minimize the amount of taxes and fees paid on your estate.

Q: When is the best time to create a will or trust?

A: When it comes to creating a will or trust, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. While the best time to create a will or trust depends on your personal circumstances, it’s best to create a will while you are of sound mind and body. It’s best to revisit the specific wording of your will or trust following significant life events, such as the death of an heir or beneficiary, marriage, or after acquiring a new property or business. If you have a complex financial situation or own property in multiple states, it’s best to consult with an attorney or estate planning lawyer to determine the best course of action.

Q: What are the advantages of a trust?

A: Trusts can help one avoid probate, save on various taxes, retain the privacy of family assets, provide creditor protection for beneficiaries, and increase control of the distribution and management of assets during life and after death. It can be designed to meet the needs of large or small estates and costs a fraction of what probate or estate taxes cost.

Q: What is the right kind of trust for me?

A: There are many kinds of trusts. One can create a living trust, a revocable living trust, or an irrevocable trust. Meeting with an estate planning lawyer can help you determine which kind of trust makes the most sense for your estate and your heirs.

Q: What is the probate process?

A: The probate process is the legal, court-supervised process of distributing a deceased person’s assets according to their will or according to intestacy laws if the deceased had no will.

Q: What are my options for estate planning?

A: There are many types of estate planning, each with different benefits. Some common types of estate planning include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance directives.

Wills are a common type of estate planning that allows you to specify how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death. Trusts are another type of estate planning that can be used to manage assets during your lifetime and after your death. Powers of attorney allow you to appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Advance directives are documents that specify your wishes for medical treatment if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Q: What are the legal limits of a will?

A: There are a few things that a will cannot do. A will cannot override a life insurance policy. If you have a life insurance policy, the proceeds will go to the beneficiary regardless of what your will says. A will also cannot override a trust. If you have created a trust, the assets in the trust will be distributed according to the terms of the trust and not your will. Finally, a will cannot be used to transfer ownership of property that is jointly owned by someone else. The property will still be owned jointly by the surviving owner.

Q: What happens to a jointly owned property when one spouse dies?

A: In the event that one spouse dies, the jointly owned property will be transferred to the surviving spouse. This is typically done through a deed or will. If the couple has a mortgage, the mortgage will still need to be paid by the surviving spouse. If the couple does not have a mortgage, the surviving spouse will fully own the property.

Q: What makes a will legally binding in Utah?

A: In order for a will to be legally binding in the state of Utah, it must be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will). Additionally, two witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator. A witness cannot be a beneficiary of the will. If the will is not signed by the required number of witnesses, it may still be considered valid if it is proven that the testator intended for it to be their will.

Q: What if my heirs are minors?

A: In the event that your heirs are minors at the time of your death, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. First, a guardian will need to be appointed for them. Second, their inheritance may need to be placed in a trust until they reach the age of majority. Lastly, you will need to consider how your assets will be divided among them.

Q: Do both my spouse and I need a will?

A: When it comes to estate planning, many couples wonder if they both need a will. The answer is not always cut and dry, but in general, it is a good idea for each spouse to have their own will. This way, if one spouse passes away, estate assets can be properly and legally managed. Additionally, a will can help to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Estate planning is an important way to protect your assets and your family. It is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine which type of estate planning is right for you. Contact us at for more details on how you can get the help you deserve today. You may also schedule a free consultation here.

Thank You for Your Trust and Confidence.

DexterLaw - Daily Herald 2023 Best of Utah Valley

Voted Best Law Firm
for 15 years!

- Readers of The Daily Herald

DexterLaw - UV Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year

Business of the Year

- UV Chamber of Commerce

Voted #1 Law Firm
11 years in a row!

- Readers of UV Magazine