Probate2018-07-13T00:46:01+00:00

Utah Probate

Our Utah probate attorneys have the experience needed to help you navigate the difficulties surrounding probate and how to possibly avoid it altogether.

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Utah probate attorneys

Specializing Attorneys

Layton Attorney Jack Helgesen

JACK C. HELGESEN

Probate Attorney
Layton and Ogden Office

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Ogden Attorney Michael Houtz

MICHAEL V. HOUTZ

Probate Attorney
Ogden Office

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Ogden Attorney Keith Backman

KEITH M. BACKMAN

Probate Attorney
Ogden Office

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Ogden Attorney Scott Nickle

SCOTT P. NICKLE

Probate Attorney
Ogden Office

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Layton Attorney Erik Helgesen

ERIK S. HELGESEN

Probate Attorney
Layton Office

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What is Utah probate?

Utah probate is a court proceeding to wrap up the affairs of a person who has died, to pay debts and to transfer his or her property to heirs. During a probate, a judge has power to decide issues and resolve disputes. This includes the power to:

  • Appoint someone as Personal Representative for the deceased person’s estate, with legal authority to sign deeds and important documents, to make decisions and to act in place of the deceased
  • Decide who should be the Personal Representative if a dispute exists
  • Remove a Personal Representative who has not acted responsibly
  • Decide whether the deceased left a last Will
  • Decide if a Will is authentic and valid
  • Decide disputes about the meaning of a Will or Trust
  • Decide what property and rights the deceased possessed
  • Decide if property should be sold or kept for the heirs
  • Declare which debts are valid and which debts should be paid
  • Make orders and decide other disputes

“Probate” is the Utah court process for wrapping up a person’s financial affairs and transferring his or her property to heirs, either under a Will or without a Will. The Utah Probate Code (Utah Code sections 75-1-101, et. seq.) describes the rules and procedures of Utah probate. It can be confusing, so get some help. Do-it-yourself probate avoidance often creates more problems than it solves. Be wise and careful.

Avoid Utah Probate

Avoid probate with a living trust

The best way for 98% of Utah families (those who do not have to worry about estate tax) to avoid probate is through creation of a Utah “revocable trust,” also called a “living trust.” This arrangement, a trust agreement, has powerful advantages for:

  • preserving assets for the surviving spouse
  • creating detailed instructions for transfer of assets to the next generation
  • providing safe management of assets which preserves the inheritance of irresponsible children, grandchildren, and others
  • gives protection and help if a Trustor (creator of the Trust) or a beneficiary becomes incompetent (unable to manage his or her own affairs)
  • allows privacy in the management of personal assets
  • avoids the need to file probate

In the last 30 years, attorneys at Helgesen, Houtz & Jones have created hundreds of revocable trusts for our clients. We know how to help you! You can contact and meet with our Estate Planning attorneys for a FREE estate planning consultation at either of our two full-time offices. Call us today. You’ll be glad you did. We know revocable trusts!

Probate and Probate Litigation

Elder law attorneys have special training and experience in Utah probate

Elder law attorneys have special training and experience in Utah probate, the court process for wrapping up the affairs of a person who has died. In Utah, special procedures and rules apply to probate. A Utah Elder Law attorney can help families gain control of the affairs of a deceased person as quickly as possible.

“Probate litigation” refers to court disputes and lawsuits disputing Utah probates, including disputes about wills, inheritances of people who left no wills, appointments of Personal Representatives (executors), accountings and many other issues which arise after a person dies.

Death brings its own pack of legal issues, and sooner or later Utah’s elderly will lose those close to them. The Utah probate process is often confusing, even to lawyers who don’t practice much in probate court. Our elder lawyers will help you sort out these probate issues:

  • Is a probate necessary, or can it be avoided?
  • What is the quickest and least expensive way through Utah probate?
  • How can family fights be resolved or minimized?
  • How should the property of a dying person be passed to the next generation with the least trouble?

In probate matters, experience counts.

An experienced attorney may be able to save you thousands of dollars and months, or years of time. Probate can be complicated. We see many unnecessary and unwise filings by inexperienced lawyers. Our Utah probate attorneys have decades of experience. Our Utah attorney probate attorneys, Jack Helgesen and Michael Houtz, have more than 50 years combined experience in complicated Utah probate matters.

Last Will and Testament & Living Wills

Taking care of those you love after you are gone

A will is essential if you want to have any say in what happens to your property or the care of your minor children after your die. By writing a will, you can decide what will be done with your property and even name a guardian for your young children. This is ideal because we cannot know when an accident or sickness may end our lives prematurely.

Some people assume their family members will inherit their assets automatically, but this is not the case. Without a will, the decisions regarding your assets are left up to the state. This can be a long and costly process. When it is over, the decisions still may not be what you or your family and loved ones would have chosen. Let us help you with the affairs of your estate by drafting a will to protect your assets for your loved ones. Call us today to schedule a free consultation!

Are your wishes clear?

A living will is a legal way to make your wishes regarding your personal medical care and treatment clearly known. This helps eliminate any confusion if you are unable to answer questions about your healthcare. Whether you are unable to respond due to an accident or illness, a living will states your wishes clearly. This leaves no room for doubts and avoids placing pressure on your relatives to make any choices for you.

Utah Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Specialized estate planning to protect elders

Probably more than 95% of the wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and estate plans written by lawyers in Utah contain provisions which can actually prevent a person from qualifying for Medicaid nursing home assistance. That is because estate plans are written to avoid estate tax which, for 2014, is expected to be paid only by Americans who have a net worth of more than $5,340,000. Few of us need estate tax planning, but more than one-third of us will spend time in a nursing home.

Elder law attorneys are trained to write unique wills, trusts and powers of attorney which consider the high risks of disability and help avoid the expensive disqualifications and “spend downs” of Medicaid.

Wills — Taking care of those you love after you are gone

A will is essential if you want to have any say in what happens to your property or the care of your minor children after your die. By writing a will, you can decide what will be done with your property and even name a guardian for your young children. This is ideal because we cannot know when an accident or sickness may end our lives prematurely.

Some people assume their family members will inherit their assets automatically, but this is not the case. Without a will, the decisions regarding your assets are left up to the state. This can be a long and costly process. When it is over, the decisions still may not be what you or your family and loved ones would have chosen. Let us help you with the affairs of your estate by drafting a will to protect your assets for your loved ones. Call us today to schedule a free consultation!

Trusts — Creating a living trust

By creating a living trust, you can protect your assets from the costly process of probate. When creating a trust, you name yourself as the trustee or become a co-trustee along with your spouse. Then, you can begin transferring ownership of your assets to the trust. You will also name the person or people you want to inherit your assets when you die. There is no need to worry about any court proceeding or probate.

Some may feel overwhelmed to make such important decisions in a document like a will or a trust. It is comforting to know that the decisions you make in your trust can be changed if needed. Different circumstances may arise which would incline you to change the outline of your trust. Also, wouldn’t you prefer to make these important decisions now with a clear mind rather than leave them up for others to decide after your death?

Our attorneys are available to help you set up a trust that can protect your assets from probate.

Special Needs Trust — Protecting the assets of those with mental or physical disabilities

A special needs trust is a way to protect assets for an individual with a mental or physical disability or illness. Although many Americans try to find ways to save for retirement, they may not always think of their children’s lifelong needs. Children with special needs may never grow to be independent. They may need to continue relying on their parents even after their parents have passed on.

Do you have a question regarding a family will?

If you need to dispute a will, our attorneys are available to help you. Wills and trusts are written with the goal that there will not be any confusion regarding the intentions of the will. However, sometimes a single mistake can change a will’s intent or even make it invalid. We will work with you to discover the facts and the real intentions of the will.

Our estate planning attorneys are available to help you set up a special needs trust for your loved one. This will ensure that their needs are provided for even after you are gone.

Estate planning experience counts

Attorneys at Helgesen, Houtz & Jones have planned thousands of estates for clients in Utah. Our lead estate planner, Jack Helgesen, has a degree in finance. He began his career by planning large estates for retirees in Mesa, Arizona. In 1982, Jack returned to Utah and has continued that work for over 30 years. he writes a regular Utah Elder Law column in Simple Seniors Magazine, including frequent articles on Utah Estate Planning topics. He is a member of the national Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

Our Utah estate planning attorneys can help you with the following estate planning needs:

  • Utah Wills
  • Utah Living Trusts
  • Utah Advance Health Care Directives
  • Utah Powers of Attorney
  • Utah Revocable Trusts
  • Utah Irrevocable Trusts
  • Utah Asset Protection Trusts
  • Utah Legacy Trusts
  • Utah Special Needs Trusts
  • Good Ways to Avoid Utah Probate
  • How to leave an inheritance to irresponsible children
  • Other estate planning issues

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