Is Probate Such a Terrible Thing? | Probate Lawyers In Utah County

Probate attorneys in Utah County are well aware of how difficult the process can be for families and friends who are grieving, for those who value privacy, and even for those who need to get an estate closed to pay off debts and take care of other obligations. Day in and day out probate attorneys hear about the downsides of probate.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a process used by courts in Utah, as well as across the country, to settle the affairs of a deceased person.  This legal process ensures that the estate fills its obligations and that its assets are distributed fairly according to the law.  Technically, “probate” refers to the settling of an estate according to a will, but when someone dies intestate (without a will), most people still refer to the process that follows as “probate.”  There may be a few slight differences between the processes, but they are very, very similar.

Working with a Probate Attorney in Lehi to Understand the Steps of the Process

Even if someone has a will in place, it’s still quite likely that his or her estate will need to be overseen by a good probate attorney in Lehi. These professionals understand the incredibly complex process that goes along with closing out someone’s estate after he or she has passed away. Those who have worked with an estate planning lawyer can sometimes avoid probate through the use of tools like revocable living trusts, but if you are in a situation where the estate in question needs to go through the legal process, it makes sense to get a qualified probate attorney on board.

Writing Your Own Obituary | Will Lawyers in Lehi

Working with a will lawyer in Lehi can bring up some uncomfortable feelings.  Those of us in this area of law are very aware of the fact that many people avoid important planning for this very reason.  After all, there aren’t a whole lot of people who want to contemplate their own demise, let alone the feelings of those left behind.

Writing your own obituary can actually be kind of a cathartic experience that helps with the estate planning process.  It gives you an opportunity to reflect on your own life, as well as to help shape how you will be remembered.  It also takes some of the burden off of those who are left behind that might not be up to writing such an intense piece in the middle of grieving.  You can write your obituary and have your will lawyer in Lehi keep it in your file so that it is ready to go when it is needed.

What to Include

How to Avoid the Need for a Probate Lawyer in Provo

If you are dealing with an estate that has to go through the probate process in Utah, your smartest move is likely going to be to work with a Provo probate lawyer.  There are cases where very simple estates will move through fairly easily, but there is still a matter of paperwork, accounting, etc. to consider; and a probate lawyer can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle.

The best way to avoid the need for a probate lawyer in Provo is to make sure that your estate planning has been done in advance.  This means that you’ve set up wills, trusts, and any other applicable legal documents so that those you leave behind won’t have to deal with taking the entire estate through the court system.  Trusts, such as a revocable living trust, are one of the most common tools for avoiding probate, but there are some other possible options.

When To Contact a Trust and Estates Lawyer In Provo, UT

There are times in life when it is obvious that people in the Provo, UT area should start meeting with a trust and estates attorney. For example, it’s more obvious that seniors need to get their estates in order than younger people do. While some situations are more urgent than others, there are actually quite a few indicators that you’re ready to start estate planning with an attorney.

Proactive Planning With a Probate Lawyer In Utah County Helps To Avoid Will Contests

Probate lawyers in Utah County work with their clients to put together plans that clearly explain what the client wants. At least, that’s the hope. When it comes to the administration of a will, however, there are several instances where a will is contested, often by an adult child of the decedent.

What Does the Proposed Estate Tax Bill Mean for You?

 You've probably heard about the bill being hotly debated in Congress right now that would reinstate the federal estate tax (from it's current status of repeal) at a 35% rate on estates larger than $5 million ($10 million for married couples). Current reports are indicating that this bill will most likely pass. (Get more information about the bill here.)

What does this mean for you?

If the bill passes, and you and your spouse have an estate (real property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, business interests, stocks, bonds, cars, boats, ATVs, etc.) that is less than $10 million, you will likely pay no estate tax if you die in 2011 and beyond (unless Congress decides to change things again). For married couples with estates larger than $10 million, you will be taxed at a 35% rate on everything over that number at the death of the second of you to die. This is good news for many of you.

If this bill does not pass, and you and your spouse have an estate larger than $1 million, you will be taxed at a 55% rate on everything over $1 million. Once you factor in the proceeds of life insurance and retirement accounts, most of you will probably find that your family will be facing a federal estate tax bill upon your death.

What is going to happen in the end? Your guess is as good as mine. If the bill passes, there are a number of my clients who will be very relieved as a result of the estate tax break that it represents.

Gary Coleman: Utah’s Own Celebrity Estate Battle

Blog Post by:  Melissa C. Platt, Esq.

Utah has turned Hollywood as the latest celebrity estate battle is playing out right here in Utah County. Actor Gary Coleman, child star of the smash 1970’s television sitcom, “Diff’rent Strokes,” died in Provo late last month after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Best known for asking, “Whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis?”, Coleman moved to Utah and met his future wife, Shannon Price, during filming for the 2006 comedy, Church Ball. Coleman and Price married in 2007 and then divorced in 2008, although the couple remained close and continued to live together in Coleman’s Santaquin home until Coleman’s death.

In fact, it was Price who called 911 after Coleman fell in his home and hit his head. In the call, she repeatedly refers to Coleman as her “husband.” And it was Price who ordered that Coleman be taken off life support.

Did You Hear the Story About Howard Hughes and the “Mormon Will”?

Blog Post by:  Melissa C. Platt, Esq.

The majority of Americans (2 out of 3) don’t have a will, according to a study done by Consumer Reports. So, what happens to the property of all those people who die without a will? Well, Utah (and most every state) has “intestate” laws that say who gets a person’s property if the person died without a will. What if you don’t agree with what the law says? Too bad. What if you have no idea what the law says? Doesn’t matter. Think it’ll be okay if you just tell people what you want done with your property? Sorry, the laws—and not your unwritten wishes—control, even if everyone knew what your wishes were.

“Estates without wills are almost always more difficult, complicated and expensive than those with one,” write legacy expert attorneys Andrew and Danielle Mayoras. So, why are so many people willing to just leave the outcome of their legacy up to the laws of the state—especially when it usually takes a greater emotional and financial toll on their loved ones? I have my list of theories, and towards the top of that list is, “Fear.”

What Michael Jackson Has Taught Us All (Part 3)

Blog Post by Melissa Platt, Esq.

Lesson #3: Every family with children must put into place a plan that specifies what should happen to their children, both in the short-term and the long-term, in the case of a parent’s death or incapacity.

Michael Jackson’s untimely death is another heartbreaking reminder that we never know when or how we’ll die. Responsible parents can no longer afford to think, “That won’t happen to me,” or “I’ll get around to it later.” Whatever you may think about MJ as a person, it’s undeniable that he was a devoted father.

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