Writing your own will is an important life aspect that settles your assets by ensuring those you leave behind are well taken care of. Creating your own will in Utah is a simple process. You only have to meet the requirements of the state, such as being of legal age and mentally sane.
The following are the requirements for writing your will in Utah;
● legal age of 18 years and above
● Be of sound mind
● You must be in a position to write the will either handwritten or a typed document
● You must sign the will in the presence of two, and the two witnesses must also sign the will for future referral.
● The will should also be dated and clearly stating the executor.
What is a holographic will in Utah?
A holographic will refers to a will that has been handwritten by the testator. Holographic wills are allowed in the state of Utah as long as the basic requirements are met. The first requirement of such a will is that it should be in your handwriting. It should be written in a concise and easy to understand manner. You can avoid using a formal language as long as the contents are easy to read. The contents of a will should include ;
● Your official names, including all the names that you have ever used.
● Where you live, street name and address
● Marital status
● Names of descendants
● Name of your spouse
● Property distribution
● Primary and secondary executor
● Preferred guardian to your children
● Signature and date
Reasons why you should write your own will in Utah
To decide how your asset will be distributed.
Drafting your will grants you a chance to determine how your properties will be distributed. You know your family members better than anyone else, so you will be in a better position to know who should receive what portion of the property.
You can always make changes
Life is not guaranteed, and so you should make adjustments to your will in as you see fit. Life changes such as birth, divorce, and death of a beneficiary would require you to redraft your will.
To support a good cause
Everyone has that area he/she wants to make a difference. Writing your will provides you with the right opportunity to contribute to charity. The provisions can in include portioning part of your estates to charity, support a Tv program, or donate to an organization. This will build your legacy as you leave a mark, knowing that you made an impact.
To indicate who will take care of your minors
You don’t want to leave your young children struggling to survive when you die. Writing the will makes way for you to name the guardian of your kids. If you happen to die without the will, the court will take it upon itself to decide who can be in charge of your children from your family members. The court does not who is responsible enough to look after your kids so need to state it clearly in the will.
Reduce the lengthy probate process
Many people believe that all estates must go through the probate process with or without the will of which is a great myth. Writing your will helps ease the probate process. The probate process is costly and might strain your beneficiaries. You can save them the trouble by writing a will.
Steps involved In writing a will
● Consideration of all your assets
You should consider going over your legal estate taking note of what you can bequeath your spouse and decedents. There are legal documents including trusts and prenuptial agreements which influence what you can allocate in your will.
● Determine who receives what portion
The process of asset distribution can be overwhelming sometimes. Deciding on who should receive what section of the estate requires proper planning. You can begin by listing all the names of your beneficiaries. The beneficiaries could be individuals or names of organizations. Allocate each beneficiary a portion of the estate in terms of percentages. You should always ensure that the total percentages add up to 100%. This might the right time to introduce an attorney to advise you on the legal requirements.
● Specific assets distribution
If you want to specify the allocation of your assets to a particular individual or organization, then you can exclude them from the percentages. Your disposition should be very detailed to fasten the distribution process of the court.
● Consider a scenario where a beneficiary passes on before you
There are numerous instances where a beneficiary passes on before a testator. When writing your will, you should always consider such a possibility. Include the name of another beneficiary who will receive part of your property when the said individual passes on.
● Choose a guardian
If you are a parent, then the future of your kids should be considered. You can choose a guardian from your relatives or close friends. Find someone who is excellent with kids and has interacted with your children regularly. Your children should be comfortable with their guardian as they will be under his/her care for a long time. This part is especially crucial if your children are still minors.
● Conditional gifts
Conditional gifts are quite common in wills. These are gifts which are given to a beneficiary who has met the specific conditions. It is against the state laws of Utah to condition a gift that requires any illegal activity or one that is against the public policy.
● Funeral arrangements
If you have any special requests about how you would want your funeral to be handled, then you can include it in the will. You can request on how you would want your remains to be preserved, the place to buried and the payment process for the funeral.
● Write your will
You will have to decide on whether you will be using an online resource, hire an attorney, or create a holographic will. The presence of an attorney will help you in meeting the required regulations. Writing your will using an online resource will assist you in drafting a will according to the laws in Utah. Most sites provide resources at an average cost of about $60 to $100.
● Acknowledge yourself in the will
The first thing to include in your will is your personal details. This ensures that your will doesn’t get confused with anyone else’s. Start by stating your name, address, and social security number. Your driver’s license can also be used in place of the social security number. Your date of birth can also be included to further prove that ownership of the will.
● Declare as required
A typical will has a declaration sentence stating that it is your last will and testament. This statement is essential and is a legal requirement in officiating the document.
● Nullify all other wills
Writing a will while in possession of other wills automatically nullifies all the rest. If you had a previous will, then creating a new one means invalidating the already existing one. The nullification statement could begin with a statement like” I hereby annul, cancel or revoke” the wills that had been created previously.
● Declaration of mental wellbeing
One of the common grounds for contesting a will is that the testator was not well mentally. It is essential to clearly indicate that at the time of making the will, you are of sound mind. You should show that you are aware of the decisions included in the will and that you were not coerced.
Those who contest the will usually provide an argument to the effect that you might have had dementia, which inhibited your ability to understand the consequences of the will. The declaration statement should include words like ” I declare to be of the legal age” and also add that you are of ” sound mind.” To prevent further doubt, you can also record a video as evidence proving that you are of sound mind to avoid further allegations later on.
● Statement of intent
All the information that is contained in your will should be in accordance with your wishes. The statement of intent is proof that your decision in the allocation of your property was not influenced by anyone else. Your statement should include lack of duress in the making of your will.
● Distribution of property
This the body of the will and therefore contains your wishes as you see fit. Begin by writing provisions according to who receives what section of your estate. Divide your assets by including percentages and also distribute conditional gifts.
● Write down an executor
An executor is responsible for ensuring that your will is followed as per your wishes. You might want to include a secondary executor who will stand in for the first in case the primary executor is unable to fulfill their duties. An executor can be your attorney because you should consider choosing someone who has experience in law or business. The executor will be in charge of handling your assets as requested by you. Mention the name of your executor in the will by stating your primary and secondary executor.
● The signing process
Your official signature at the end of your document will make the will valid. You should go through the contents of the will to acknowledge its accuracy. Once you are satisfied with the provisions in the will, you will be required to write your signature in the presence of at least two witnesses. These witnesses will also be required to provide their signature as proof of your mental state during the time of signing.
● Keep your will safely
Your will is only filed with the probate court after you die. If the will is misplaced and cannot be located after you die, then it won’t be filed. Absence of a will results in the distribution of property according to the intestacy laws. You can store your will somewhere safe like a safety deposit bank or allow your lawyer to keep for you. You can always give a copy of your will to your executor while storing the original somewhere else.
Changing your will in Utah
There are several reasons why one would want to make amendments to their will. Changes are usually necessary after the occurrence of significant life events. Such events include marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, death of a beneficiary, and changes in the value of your property.
You can make several changes to your will by;
● Creating a new will
Deciding to create an entirely new will from scratch immediately supersedes the existing one. This is especially the case if you are writing a holographic will. Such a will cannot be amended by simply crossing out the unwanted sections. You will have to write a new one or create a codicil. A codicil refers to the amendment of a will. This document will include information on what you would want to be omitted or added to your will. This document should also be written in your handwriting and accompanied by the date and signature.
● Deleting or adding new sections
If you have a printed will, then the best way to make changes would be to add specific parts or deleting unwanted information. You can reprint the document again and then store it safely. A codicil might also be used in this case to reference specific sections of your will. The codicil should always be stored together with the will at all times.
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It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
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