If you need an estate planning attorney in North Salt Lake Utah, please read this page. There are ways to show that the Will is the actual instrument that a deceased person made when the personal representative and estate planning attorney initially submit the document to the court. The process of submitting a Will to the court is called “probate”. Many states define testamentary writings as the actual document, other testamentary instruments, and codicils. Codicils are written changes made to the Will later in time.
In the initial meeting with a personal representative, the retirement planning lawyer must determine if the Will or other estate planning documents exists. This is because; courts require that the original instruments be submitted to it before it can commence estate administration proceedings. Newspapers will often contain advertisements from lawyers or personal representatives seeking information on the location of a Will because it cannot be found.
If the document is located, it should then be submitted to the Court along with a “Petition for Unsupervised Administration and Probate of Will.” There are many different kinds of legal documents with varying legal titles. Such documents will typically start with the word “Petition” and then be signed by the personal representative to verify that the Will attached to the Petition is an original and is valid.
To make a legally valid Will, it must meet these requirements:
1. The person executing the Will must be over the age of eighteen (18) years
2. The person must be of sound mind
3. The Will must be in writing and signed by the person making it
4. The document must be signed in the presence of the person making it and at least two (2) witnesses
Again, each state’s laws vary on the requirements of a valid Will. Every person conducting estate planning should check with their attorney before doing any serious retirement planning. This will ensure that the proper procedures are followed and that your wishes are met. Finally, if there is any doubt as to the validity of the Will, the proper procedure for a personal representative and the estate planning lawyer to take is to file the document with the court and seek a determination by the court as to the its validity. This often means a short hearing where witnesses and other evidence is presented before a judge. If the Will can be proved valid, the probate administration should continue and work smoothly.
Estate planning is a difficult process. Without proper guidance from an attorney, people may lose money due to lack of planning. At a minimum, it is important to be aware of what you want done with your debts and assets upon your death. Thinking about and writing down a plan is the bare minimum. Once you have done that, making a Will should be done and you should think about the possibility of additional estate planning. Be sure to follow the proper procedure and laws in your state when making your Will.
Proper Estate Planning to Avoid Lawsuits and Complications
Getting your Estate to Your Intended Beneficiaries
Don’t put off your estate planning until it’s too late. Proper Estate Planning can prevent problems down the line that could possibly interfere with having your wishes honored. As a lesson to plan well and plan early, let’s look at the Estate of James Brown. James Brown died in 2006, leaving almost $100 million in trust to needy children. When James Brown died, however, he left nine children, three ex-wives and another lady who may or may not have been his widow. Although James’ last wishes may have been clearly stated, his wishes did not include his family. His estate been caught up in numerous court battles and, as a result, not one dime has been yet distributed to the trust he established.
The lawsuits attacked the trust on grounds of incompetency and undue influence, the two most common ways to attack a trust or a will. An attack on competency simply involves a claim that James Brown was not mentally competent to enter into a trust or other legal documents. A claim of undue influence means that others influenced him to the extent he was not exercising independent judgment, through mental, moral or physical coercion.
No sense going into further details. The lesson here is clear: do proper estate and living trust planning! This includes do your planning early, while there is no issue as to capacity and or improper influence by other persons, including family members. Estate planning documents should also be updated regularly, including after births, deaths or other family issues.
How to Avoid a Lawsuit in your Estate
There are many ways to avoid lawsuits and problems in your estate. An estate lawsuit can ultimately cost your estate a whole lot of money, so taking appropriate precautions is a good idea.
1. Treat everyone equally: It is best to give each child an equal inheritance. If for some reason you choose not to do so, be sure to have a meeting with all your children and explain why one child may have gotten more.
2. Divide Personal Property Equally but Consult with the Kids First: Generally you should gift personal property equally but if you decide to gift an item of personal property to one particular child, you may do so in a personal property memorandum. It is a good idea to have a meeting with all the kids first to make sure all are in accord with your decision. Ask whether any particular child would like any particular personal property and work out the details at that time. This can avoid a lot of confusion (and litigation) later on.
3. Loans: Keep track of all loans and make sure your will or trust specifically requires payback of the loans or have the loan amount subtracted off of the inheritance. This can be done in many states by calling the loan an ‘Advancement’ or better still, simply required any loan to be subtracted from the inheritance.
4. Institutional Executor or Trustee: You might be inclined to appoint a spouse or child to be executor or trustee of you estate trust, but you fear some family infighting. If your estate can afford it, appoint a corporate executor or trustee, although expensive, there is less chance of fighting among siblings. This is an often overlooked aspect of Elder Law.
5. Of Sound Mind – Offer Proof: One common attack on a will or trust is a lack of capacity on the part of the testator or grantor (one who created the will or trust). If you aren’t of ‘sound mind’ upon signing a will or trust, it may not be valid. This can be a problem if you are disinheriting a child or doing an unequal distribution. A simple solution: consider getting an evaluation by a treating physician and a psychiatrist before signing any documents. (Note that this can backfire if the evaluation suggests a lack of capacity, however).
6. Be Clear of a Disinheritance: If you wish to disinherit a son or daughter, be sure to spell it out in your will very clearly and specifically, according to your states rules. Make clear that you are acting intentionally, but don’t specify a reason either, since that can create ammunition to challenge the disinheritance.
7. Don’t Delay: Don’t wait until your deathbed to make a will or trust. That is a formula for disaster. It can create claims of undue influence or being of unsound mind.
Estate Planning Tax Advice – Why You Need It and Where to Find It
Taxes are something you have to pay all of your life, and if you do not plan ahead, they will be something your estates will be paying even after you are gone. So making sure that you get quality estate planning tax advice when you are arranging your final affairs is one way to ensure that your heirs, and not the IRS, receive the bulk of your estate. While it may be trite to observe that no two individuals are the same, it is not a cliché to say that everyone of us can benefit from estate planning tax advice, if only to learn that we will not have to worry because our estates will not be large enough that a tax is applicable. The estates of those just beginning their careers may not require a lot of estate planning tax avoidance measures, while the estates of their grandparents very well might.
If you are concerned about whether or not you will need some estate planning tax help, but are not interested in paying an attorney until you are sure you will, your best option would be to find a good estate planning guide and study its it to determine if the total assets in your estate are likely to put it in the taxable category.
If you find that they are, it will be worth your while to discuss with an expert the estate planning tax strategies which will let you preserve as much of your assets as possible for your heirs. These strategies can include things placing your assets into a living so that you can control them during your lifetime, and prevent them from being included in your taxable estate when you die. Having a living trust will also benefit your heirs, because it will exempt you assets from being tied up in the expensive and lengthy probate process.
Getting estate planning tax advice on a continuing basis is important, because you may have to adjust your estate planning strategies as your financial situation and/or the estate tax laws change. Consulting with an estate planning tax expert as your circumstances change will ensure that your heirs are not left with any unpleasant surprises and that your final wishes will be honored as you desired. If you do follow the advice of an estate planning tax professional, make sure that you keep copies of all the estate planning documents. They will be essential in case you have the bad luck to deal with an unqualified party, and your heirs need to prove a claim of negligence.
While such a scenario may be rare, estate planning tax advice is not under the oversight of any specific government authority. So the quality of advice you get will depend to a great degree on the experience of you advisor, be it an attorney, accountant, banker, or financial planner. By using an estate planning guide to familiarize yourself with your options so that you know what questions to ask, you will have a much better chance of finding a trustworthy professional to provide your estate planning tax advice.
Protect Your Family With Estate Planning
Estate planning sounds like an overwhelming task that will require a lot of time, paperwork, and thinking about things no one wants to think about, when, in reality, it’s relatively straightforward and painless. Everyone, no matter their net worth, should have estate planning in place. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.
What exactly is the process?
Contact an attorney to arrange a meeting time. Before you meet with an attorney, they should provide you with some guidelines to help you think about all of the different concerns there are with estate planning. Some things may not apply (i.e., you are 34 years old and don’t have grandchildren), and others are things you may never have thought of, but need to (i.e., who will take care of my kids if, God forbid, something happens to me?) It’s not a test; there are no rights or wrong answers. It’s just to get you thinking.
Once you’ve had a chance to make some decisions, you’ll meet with your attorney to talk about what you are looking for from the estate planning process (Just a will? Living will? Power of Attorney? Special needs trust? Whole package?), and to see if any special planning needs to be done. Occasionally, you may need to meet again to discuss more complex issues, but for most people, that’s all you have to do until it’s time to review the estate planning documents that your attorney has prepared according to your wishes. Once you’ve carefully reviewed the documents to make sure that everything is how you want it, you’ll schedule a time with your attorney to sign everything.
Will Estate Planning – Do You Have These Three Important Documents?
Will estate planning should be a top priority for every American age 18 and over. Unfortunately, most people procrastinate about executing a Last Will and Testament and making arrangements in the event of their death. Some people believe estate planning is too costly, while others believe it doesn’t matter because they don’t own anything of value. Nothing could be further from the truth. Will estate planning isn’t reserved for the wealthy, nor does it have to be expensive. Forms can be downloaded for free via the Internet or purchased in office supply stores. Probate lawyers can draft legal documents for a nominal fee.
There are several reasons why people should engage in will estate planning. First and foremost, estate planning can reduce turmoil for your loved ones. By executing a legal Will, decedents can designate an estate administrator and beneficiaries. Individuals who have minor children can establish guardianship within the Will. Oftentimes, people do not take into consideration what will happen to their children in the event of their death. This is of particular importance for single parents whose spouse is deceased. If guardianship is not arranged through will estate planning, children could potentially become a ward of the state. Establishing legal guardianship is one of the most important things you can do for your children.
In addition to executing a Will and establishing guardianship, will estate planning should also include a Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Proxy. Power of Attorney (POA) is used to grant authority to someone to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so. Designating Power of Attorney is an important decision which should not be taken lightly.
A Healthy Proxy is used to appoint someone to make decisions about your healthcare. The person selected should be informed of any lifesaving measures you do or do not want. These include rescesitation, medical treatments and nutrition. Unless an irrevocable living trust is established, your estate must undergo the probate process. Probate is used to validate the Will and ensure your final wishes are adhered to. If you die intestate (without a Will), a judge will determine the rightful heirs based on state probate laws. The only way to guarantee your real estate, financial holdings and personal property is given to the people you want to have it is through will estate planning. Estate planning can be conducted without legal assistance. However, experts advise hiring an estate planning attorney to reduce or prevent legal problems. Estate planning and probate lawyers can be located in phone directories, via the Internet and through the American Bar Association.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
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!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506