Wills – Trusts – Powers of Attorney – Guardianships
What happens to all of your savings, real property, personal belongings and other “stuff” when you die? The purpose of an estate plan is to answer this question. Without an estate plan, the “intestacy” laws of the State of Utah answer this question (assuming you are a resident of Utah when you die).
Sometimes you add other people’s names to your accounts and property, thinking this is an adequate estate plan. It isn’t, for a number of reasons. Among the problems caused by this kind of plan are claims of creditors of the person you added to the account. Often, we believe that our trusted daughter will “do the right thing” and share the account with her brothers and sisters. Too often brothers and sisters disagree over minor things that rapidly escalate into major arguments. We know it will never happen to your family, but we see it way too often.
A carefully prepared will and/or trust can prevent bad outcomes and often preserve family harmony. A Special Needs Trust, either prepared as a separate document or included in a will or trust, can prevent a special needs child from being disqualified from receiving public benefits.
A carefully considered estate plan also usually includes an expanded durable power of attorney naming a trusted person to act in your behalf in the event you are unable to act on your own, due to illness, incapacity, or absence.
If you or a loved one failed to plan in advance with a power of attorney and other planning documents, it may be necessary to ask a court to appoint a guardian and/or conservator for you to assist in making decisions about your daily life and financial matters.