Probate is a complex process. Once you file for probate, a disgruntled relative who has been disinherited by the will may challenge the will. It’s important to fight the challenge. Fighting the challenge can be a tough task especially if the disgruntled relative is determined to fight it out. During such times, having an experienced Heber Utah probate lawyer assist you is probably the best thing that can happen to you.
The probate process can be an expensive and time-consuming process, depending on the state where you live. Probate costs, which must be paid from your estate before anything can go to your heirs, are generally estimated at 5 percent of an individual’s gross estate value and can be even higher in some cases. The probate process can take at least one to two years.
Hire a probate lawyer
Utah probate law is complex. Your will has to be probated before the beneficiaries of your will get the share you have bequeathed them. Speak to an experienced Heber Utah probate lawyer before you make your will. Every will has to go through probate before the beneficiaries get their share. Probate is the legal process by which a court validates the will. If your close relative has passed away living behind a will, contact an experienced Heber Utah probate lawyer. It’s important that the will is probated. For this you must file an application in the probate court and pay the probate fee.
During probate your family loses control of your estate, as well as privacy. The probate process – not your family – has control, and your assets may be tied up until this process is completed. Additionally, probate fields are open to the public, so anyone can get information about your assets and liabilities.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to wills and probate. It’s call the revocable living trust. It avoids probate and ensures your estate plan won’t be altered by the court or legal technicalities in the event of your death or disability.
If you establish a trust during your lifetime, it is calling “living” trust. It’s a legal document similar to a will but offers much more. When you set up a living trust, you simply transfer most of your assets from your individual name to the name of your trust, which you control. Since there is no probate process with a living trust, upon your death, your assets are transferred to your heirs. All expensive court proceedings and delays are eliminated, your privacy is preserved, and the emotional stress on your family is minimized.
While you are alive, you act as the steward of your resources. After you are gone, someone else may have to play that role. If you are planning to establish trusts for children and grandchildren to protect and distribute family assets, carefully choose trustees or those who will manage your affairs, communications, or oversight. Again, as with planning, some trustees excel in technical capacity, whereas others may excel in human understanding and empathy or even wisdom. Increasingly, people are leaving room for two trustees, one a family adviser or family member, another a corporate trustee to make sure that both wisdom and competence are well represented.
If your child is under age eighteen, the opinion and work of your trustee is particularly important to the well-being of your family. The choice of a beneficiary may affect beneficiaries for decades to come, so having at least one of the trustees be a family member or friend who is a good communicator and knows your children or spouse is a good idea. Many family members or friends are willing to serve for only a modest fee or no fee.
A well-chosen trustee can be more than an administrator of the terms of the trust. He or she can also be a mentor, someone to whom the heirs can look—as they might have looked to you—as a role model. In some trusts the beneficiaries can take over some responsibility for the trust at a certain age. Having a trustee who as mentor can prepare heirs for that role then becomes key to a successful handoff of responsibility.
If you have been wrongly disinherited by your close relative or you strongly believe that your deceased relative’s will was made under undue influence, speak to an experienced Heber Utah probate lawyer. Utah law has provisions to challenge a will. All wills must go through probate. When an application for probate is made, it is open for interested parties to challenge the will. It’s at this time that you should challenge the will. There is no point in challenging the will when your relative is alive. In fact, you cannot challenge the will at that stage. A will becomes operative only on the death of the testator – the person making the will. If your relative is still alive, you are better off talking to the relative rather than challenging the will in court. There is a time for everything and the time to challenge a will is when it goes through probate. If there is a probate dispute in Heber, the court will generally order the parties to try and resolve the dispute thorough probate mediation. Speak to an experienced Heber Utah probate lawyer to know more about the mediation process.
Request that you have an opportunity to meet with your Heber Utah probate lawyer at a convenient time, and for a reasonable number of times, to discuss the case to that point and the implications of the impending trial. Discuss the strategy and any possible defenses he or she proposes to use in your behalf. To prevent inadvertent disclosure, the attorney may decline to reveal a plan to you. Ask for an honest appraisal of your situation—the weaknesses as well as the strengths of your case. During the meeting, ask for a brief outline of the court proceedings—what you can expect, what will be expected of you. This is also a good time to discuss the possibility of a settlement.
Much of this preparation will be a review of documents and records that you should have examined previously in preparation for the deposition. Reexamine the complaint, the medical record, and all other documents relevant to the case. Refresh your memory on the details, the facts, and the allegations. Make copious notes, but be sure that only you and your attorney have access to them. If you have not already done so, prepare a detailed, chronological summary of all the events surrounding the alleged incident. If this has already been done, review it carefully and add any additional information as necessary.
Mediation is not really new. It is as old as the new testament and perhaps older. The Greek word for mediate means to stand between. People have always known that standing between two people in conflict can be helpful. What is new is that mediation has been rediscovered as a replacement for many of the present methods of addressing adversarial conflict. The mediation method encourages cooperating with and helping your adversary. This new way of thinking is gaining a foothold, not only in conflict resolution theory, but also in business.
Probate mediation is different than traditional probate procedures, even when traditional steps taken by attorneys lead to a settlement of the case without a trial. In fact, what occurs in probate mediation is 180 degrees from the adversarial process at virtually every point. The philosophy of mediation is that all sides should achieve a victorious outcome, in contrast to the adversarial probate philosophy of winner prevails due to the loser.
Mediation is most effective when the parties understand the differences between the mediation process and other processes, such as litigation or tribunal hearings. In litigation, or a case conducted before a tribunal, the emphasis is on putting the best case forward in an adversarial approach.
Mediation however is flexible, non-confrontational, and allows the parties to be involved and exercise control over the outcome. The emphasis is on interests and concerns rather than legal issues, and all parties work together to formulate creative solutions.
Whilst mediation is useful for resolving disagreement at any stage, it is best placed as a process when a solution could not be reached by negotiation, but before any more formal process. Since mediation has the status of a ‘without prejudice’ discussion and matters raised are confidential, the process can continue despite ongoing litigation.
Consult with an experienced Heber Utah probate lawyer to decide on which estate planning device you should use. Estate planning means planning for the orderly handling, disposition, and administration of your goods and money when you die. Charitable estate planning is a vehicle that can help you give after you die in ways and amounts that often you could not give during your lifetime. There is a misconception that only those with a lot of money or other assets need to undertake thoughtful estate planning, including writing a will. That’s not true. If you have any money in a bank or retirement account, own a home or other real estate, or own anything of any value—a car, a work of art, jewelry—you have the chance to decide what will happen to these possessions after your death. If you don’t decide, the government will decide for you. For those with larger estates, to die without an up-to-date will can cost a significant fraction of your wealth at death in unnecessary taxes. Estate planning, in short, lets you provide for loved ones, make gifts to causes you care about, and save your heirs income and estate taxes.
It’s important to have an experienced Heber City Utah probate lawyer prepare your estate planning documents. Too often financial plans and estate plans are created without attention to or articulation of core values. We need to keep at the heart of our estate planning what really matters, why we are planning, and for whom. Too often financial plans are created with only our own financial security and tax reduction as objectives. Likewise, estate plans are predominantly created to avoid or reduce taxes, or to pass money, meaningful objects, or lessons on to our families or friends. Little, if any, support is passed to the nonprofits we have cared most about. Establishing a philanthropic or giving plan may tie together and lend added meaning to your other planning. Having or making money for others, not just for ourselves, gives added significance to doing good for the greater community. With a giving plan in place, your financial plan and your estate plan are likely to shift.
Never assume that a will is not for you and that you are better off using trusts for the purpose of estate planning. More often than not, a will may be the best option for you. It is important that you understand the entire probate process before you take a decision. Speak to an experienced Heber City Utah probate lawyer.
Attorneys may have a reputation for being expensive and difficult to deal with, but that is not necessarily accurate. As in any profession, there are some people you’ll relate to better than others. The legal field is no exception. And, in fact, an attorney who will take time to understand your wishes and your adult child’s needs can become an important ally. Not only will he give you legal advice but you can count on him to follow up with the appointment of fiduciaries you choose to act for your child and to help them advocate for your child in the event of problems with carrying out the plan.
As with doctors, if you can’t relate to one and she won’t listen to you, choose another one. The same applies to attorneys. You will need the attorney to have a greater understanding of your family situation than some families may require. Thus, the relationship needs to work well to enhance that understanding. As with choosing any other professional, you won’t learn much about a person from a yellow pages listing. It’s better, if possible, to get a referral from friends or family members who have used that attorney. Additionally, some agencies have lists of attorneys who have been helpful to their clients. Some attorneys will speak at support groups and you may get a chance to hear them before scheduling an appointment.
Free Consultation with a Heber City Utah Probate Lawyer
When you need legal help with an estate, trust, will or probate matter in Heber City Utah, please 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