Wills and Trusts

Family Trusts and Wills

A family trust or will in Utah, tells your family and loved ones how you would like your property distributed after your death and helps ease the transition for them. Wills can be simple or complex documents, depending on the individual's preference and the nature of his or her estate. Usually, the will describes the estate and identifies the people who will receive property. A will can also contain special instructions for gifts to charities, giving property to a minor child or disabled person, and naming guardians for minor children, among other provisions. Regardless of the size of your estate, it is important to have a will if you want to determine its distribution after your death. If you die without a valid will, the distribution of your estate will be determined by law, without any input from you.

If you already have a will, be sure to consult your attorney to keep it up-to-date. Many life events may affect your will:

  • You get married
  • You have a new baby
  • You get divorced or your spouse dies
  • The size or value of your estate changes
  • Your beneficiaries change
  • You move to a new state
Even if none of these apply to you, consider contacting your attorneys and reviewing your will at least every five years. Depending on the size of your estate, it may be subject to federal estate taxes, which may create a substantial burden on the estate and your survivors. However, there are ways estate planning attorneys can help you to avoid these taxes(establishing Utah trusts, re-titling property, making early gifts to beneficiaries, etc.).

Living Wills

A living will or advance directive is a document that allows you to provide instructions about medical treatment in the event of a traumatic injury or disease that affects your ability to make decisions for yourself. (Financial Power of attorney and Health care power of attorney)


Probate is the legal process for making sure that the property of a deceased person (the decedent) is collected and preserved; the decedent's debts and taxes are paid; and the remaining property is distributed to the beneficiaries designated in the decedent's last will or, if the decedent died without a valid will, to the decedent's lawful heirs. The person who does this is called the personal representative, sometimes known as the executor or administrator.

Initially, the necessary probate opening documents are prepared and filed with the probate court, which then appoints the personal representative and, if the decedent had a last Will, determines if the Will is valid. When the personal representative has finished administering the estate, he or she files probate "closing" documents with the court and distributes the remaining estate assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. The court then discharges the personal representative from further responsibility.