As a probate lawyer I’m frequently asked estate law questions in Utah. Here are some of those questions and their answers.
The Person Who Provides for You Suddenly Dies. What Happens to You?
When the primary breadwinner dies, his or her surviving spouse, domestic partner and minor children can find themselves without the necessary resources to maintain their current lifestyle. If you find yourself in this position, you do have options.
Under Utah laws, you have entitlements in regard to a place to live, use of personal property, and a family allowance. A family allowance is a court-authorized payment to dependent loved ones of the person who has passed. To receive the allowance, the person must have been dependent on the resources of the deceased prior to his or her death. This can include parents and adult children of the deceased. The allowance can be paid during the Salt Lake City probate process, and it can be paid from any asset within the estate. If you are in need of a family allowance, contact a qualified Salt Lake City probate lawyer today for help.
Here are a few things you should know about the Family Allowance Benefit:
- A spouse, minor children, or an adult dependent child or a dependent parent of the deceased may be eligible.
• There is often a set time period for the allowance; typically, 12 months.
• Known creditors must be notified of the petition for family allowance.
• Any petition more than $1,000 per month must include an itemized estimate of anticipated monthly expenses.
• The petition must also include the estimated gross and net estate and an estimate of unpaid claims.
• Unless the person named in the petition is incapacitated, the petition must list income from all sources outside of the estate as well as the person’s personal property.
Can Beneficiaries Demand a Formal Accounting of an Estate?
An estate administrator has a duty to manage the estate and do so in the best interest of the beneficiaries. However, not every administrator acts in good faith, and even when they do, disputes and discrepancies can make a beneficiary want to know exactly where the assets are and where they’re going.
What duty does an administrator owe to the beneficiaries of an estate?
An administrator of an estate in Salt Lake City has what’s called a fiduciary duty to the estate’s beneficiaries. To have a fiduciary duty means to have a duty to act in good faith at all times when it comes to administering something on behalf of another person. Fiduciary duty requires the administrator to act according to a set of rules or laws, and a person with a fiduciary duty may not break those rules even if the beneficiaries ask them to do so. In Salt Lake City, an administrator of an estate must only spend or reallocate assets for the benefit of the estate. There may be civil consequences for breaching fiduciary duty.
However, if an administrator is suspected of acting in bad faith, as in acting against the interests of the beneficiaries, or suspected of being negligent, the beneficiaries have a right to ask for an accounting.
Salt Lake City Probate Lawyer on Accounting
An accounting is a detailed explanation of how the assets in an estate are controlled, how money is spent, why money has been spent, and what assets remain. An accounting shows who the estate’s creditors may be, how and when they’re paid, and what debts remain.
A beneficiary may seek an accounting to know the current status of an estate. A beneficiary may be suspicious of an administrator’s ability to administer the estate and about what they’ve done so far. For example, a beneficiary stands to inherit a house, but it goes into foreclosure because there weren’t enough assets in the estate to pay the mortgage. The beneficiary didn’t know that, or was sure there were enough assets to pay the mortgage, so the beneficiary wants an accounting to show why there was no money to pay the mortgage.
How do I get an accounting?
In Utah, a formal accounting is an accounting granted through the court. An informal accounting can be made upon request. If a beneficiary requests an informal accounting directly from the administrator, the administrator is obligated to give one. It may not be extremely detailed, but it should at least offer an overview of what’s happening.
A formal accounting is granted by the court, and may be requested by the court if there’s suspicion that the administrator has mismanaged the estate, or if there’s a legal dispute over the estate. Utah has specific laws regarding formal accountings.
It’s best to consult your own probate lawyer in Salt Lake City if you’re a beneficiary seeking an accounting. An experienced Salt Lake City probate lawyer can help you get an accounting and protect your assets if they’re being mismanaged by the estate administrator.
Free Consultation with a Salt Lake City Probate Attorney
When you need help with a probate or estate case, 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