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Basics of Probate

People don’t like thinking about death, but unfortunately it’s inevitable. The best thing you can do for your family is to make arrangements for how your property and money will be distributed once you’re gone. There are generally two options for this: a will and a trust. If you choose to have a will – which is a good idea even if you have a trust – then it’s important to have a basic understanding of the probate process as well. Every will goes through probate, which is the court-supervised process of sorting and administering a person’s will. In the event that there isn’t a will, the probate court will distribute property and assets according to the applicable laws of each state.

Basics of Probate

This section provides a basic overview of the probate process as well as how to avoid probate. You can also find a listing of the probate laws and courts for each state. There is also an article explaining probate fees and a questionnaire to help prepare you for your meeting with a probate attorney.

What Happens During Probate?

The basic probate process involves several steps. First, the probate court collects all the property – including income, dividends, etc. – that is subject to the probate court’s jurisdiction. Then, it pays any debts, claims, and taxes owed by the estate. Finally, it distributes the remaining property to the proper heirs. Also, if there are any disputes regarding a will, the probate court is in charge of settling them.

The probate process also involves various fees and costs. The costs and fees include any attorneys’ fees, the fees of the executor or personal representative, and court costs. Although these costs are usually paid out of the estate’s assets, it means that less is left to the heirs of the estate.

Ways to Avoid Probate

Probate can be a long and expensive process, so it’s important to learn about the various ways to avoid it. One way to avoid it is to set up a trust, which isn’t required to go through probate. Another option to avoid probate is to take advantage of payable upon death options available on certain types of accounts. Owning property jointly with the person you want to leave the property is yet another way to avoid probate. Upon the death of one co-owner, the joint property goes automatically to the surviving joint owner. Besides the general the general ownership of joint property with right of survivorship, there are other common forms of joint property ownerships that are available to married couples. A married couple can have a tenancy in the entirety and in states that have community property laws, any community property automatically goes to the surviving spouse. Finally, a person can avoid probate by gifting items and money before death. It’s important to note that a person is only allowed gift a certain amount of money tax-free.

Hiring a Utah Probate Attorney

If you’ve been named the executor or personal representative in a will, it can be helpful to consult with a probate attorney to help you through the probate process. In order to be of assistance, the attorney will need some basic information about the deceased, the deceased’s estate plan, and the deceased’s assets and liabilities. You can find a detailed questionnaire in this section to help better prepare you for your meeting with a probate attorney.

Free Consultation with a Probate Lawyer in Utah

If you are here, you probably have a probate matter you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.