What do you charge?
Every client that walks through our doors has different needs. For this reason, we provide a free 30-minute estate planning consultation to help understand you as a person, and your individual needs. We offer a combination of hourly rate and flat fee structures, ensuring that you get the most value from our team possible. After your consultation and decision to hire us, you will leave with a clear expectation of cost and timeline and can expect regular communication throughout the process.
What if I can’t afford it?
We pride ourselves in the quality and detail we bring to our work; we also believe everyone can and should have an estate plan in place. We will work with you to find solutions and have great confidence in our referral network should we not be the right fit for you.
Do I really need a lawyer?
We are aware of the various options you have regarding legal work, and the convenience that comes with online services; However, we simply provide an entirely different product. We will sit down with you and your loved ones and ensure that your estate plan fits your needs perfectly, analyzing risk and delivering a product unique to you. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach when working with our clients.
We have a variety of assets (including joint bank accounts and retirement accounts) that we want included in a trust. Will our assets be protected from lawsuits?
One of the best defenses against lawsuits will be an umbrella liability insurance policy. This type of policy can be affordable, less restrictive than other protective measures, and goes beyond what your other insurance policies may offer. A revocable trust, which we recommend to many of our clients, does not provide protection against lawsuits. However, it does avoid probate, provide for you in the event you lose capacity, and preserves assets for your beneficiaries. This is generally the best option for clients who don’t have an unusually high risk of litigation. Because this type of trust is revocable, you could amend, change, or revoke it at any time while you are alive and have the mental capacity to do so. You could also move assets in and out of your trust without restriction. With some professions, like physicians and engineers, we recommend creating an irrevocable trust; this type of trust does offer protection from lawsuits, but does not have the same adaptability as a revocable trust. For instance, an irrevocable trust would require you to transfer your assets into the trust and have you appoint a third party to manage those assets for you.
I can’t come into the office; can I still hire your firm?
We are currently licensed in the states of Utah and Arizona, and are working on licensure in Nevada as well. Our office is located in St. George, however we have the ability to meet and work for you virtually in the event that you are unable to meet in person.
If I put my checking accounts into a trust, will I be able to access those accounts to make withdrawals and deposits?
Transferring your checking and savings accounts into a revocable trust would not change your current accessibility to the accounts, or the account numbers. You would be able to continue using the current checks you have now. You will not lose access to your money if you have a revocable trust drafted. In fact, including your banking accounts in a revocable trust only adds security and peace of mind for the owners of the account, should anything happen to them.
Can I transfer ownership of a life insurance policy to a trust?
Yes, you can. We often recommend doing that via a revocable trust. Typically, the policy holder will change the beneficiary of the policy to be the revocable trust. When the insured passes away, the trust will receive the proceeds of the policy. The remaining or successor trustee will be able to manage those proceeds because the policy was put into the revocable trust.
Does a Last Will and Testament avoid probate?
Wills (also known as “Last Will and Testaments”) are required to go through probate to ensure their validity and enforce the wishes of that which is outlined in the document. If you would like your estate to avoid probate, you will want to set up a revocable living trust (or irrevocable trust in some situations) as a place to house all your assets. For more information, please see the below links to several of our blog posts relating to wills.
Do I Need a Will? What You Should Know
Wills vs. Trusts: Which Option is Right for You?
What is the difference between a revocable trust and a will?
While both wills and trusts are vital elements in proper estate planning, they have significant differences from each other. A Last Will and Testament is simply a document that explains and (hopefully) enforces the decedent’s desires regarding their estate. Wills contain the intentions and specific instructions of the individual who has passed or will pass away, and are only enforceable upon their death. Conversely, trusts are more than documents; they are recognized entities that can own and distribute assets and property. Unlike wills, trusts can be utilized and enforced while the creator (called the grantor or trustor) is still alive. As long as such assets have been properly transferred into the trust, trusts can disburse or retain assets according to the grantors or trustee’s desires. Similar to wills, trust can ensure that a deceased individual’s estate is administered in a manner aligned with the grantor’s desires. Arguably the biggest difference between wills and trusts is that a properly established trust will allow an estate to avoid going through probate, whereas a will does not allow the estate to avoid probate in carrying out the grantor’s post-mortem intentions. See the attached blog to learn more specific details about wills and trusts.
Does a revocable trust protect my assets from creditors?
A revocable trust does not offer protection from creditors or lawsuits. Because a creator of a revocable trust retains full control of the assets within the trust, judicial systems are likely to allow creditors to pursue assets held within the trust as there is little separation between owner and asset. However, irrevocable trusts can offer asset protection at the expense of convenience. Irrevocable trusts are dissimilar from revocable trusts in that a third party manages and controls assets within the trust instead of the creator of the trust. Obviously, handing over control of your assets to another person brings some inherent risks, but the benefit is that assets within the irrevocable trust are protected from would-be creditors.
How often do I need to update my estate plan?
We recommend all of our clients update their estate plan once every 3-5 years. During this span of time, there have probably been changes in your life, family, ideas, situations, employment, finances, and attitudes since when you first had your documents drafted. Along with personal changes, alterations made to laws and statutes affecting your estate planning are also possibilities that need to be accounted for. There are certain life events that warrant you to take immediate action when it comes to updating your estate planning: when you have moved from one state or country to another; when a beneficiary named in your trust should no longer be included in the distribution; significant life changes such as divorces, children being born, changes in status of ability (development of disabilities); and so on.
What estate planning documents will I likely need if I own real estate?
In answering this question, we want to assure you that it is all right if you are not an expert on establishing trusts, trust funding, or transferring assets (which is why you are at our website).We love assisting and educating our clients in estate planning subjects, so that they are more knowledgeable about relevant private and public estate matters. Our mission is to provide you expert, professional, and friendly help in navigating legal matters regarding your estate.
Concerning private estate planning needs and required real estate documents, any documents that prove ownership of parcels and land is helpful. It is best if these documents show the transfer from the previous owner to you; warranty deeds and quit claim deeds are usually how this is shown. Warranty deeds are the most secure in validating ownership. Our paralegals are proficient at locating the necessary documents that are required for estate planning; you will not have to provide all of them yourself.
What is probate?
Probate is the process by which your local/state government determines, authorizes, and gives power to enforce the resolution of a decedent’s post-mortem estate and wishes. Probate determinations can establish who is the authorized executor (personal representative) of an estate, how an estate is distributed and to whom, and enables accountability to be incorporated into estate administration. Often, probate cases do not require a court hearing; instead an estate representative or legal counselor will appear before a judge and discuss the current status of the estate and the proposed actions regarding the appointment of executors, distributions, and other related matters, and confirm that the suggested documents have been delivered to the judge waiting to be signed. A contested probate becomes significantly more complicated. Court hearings may be required, and conflict may arise from differing parties attempting to control how an estate will be administered and by who.
My child is starting college this year. What documents should my child have in place?
A Durable Power of Attorney document and a Healthcare Directive document are two assurances that would be wise to have on hand for your child who is about to be leaving the home. Without these documents in your possession, frustrating impediments can arise if your child becomes injured or incapacitated and medical or financial decisions need to be made on their behalf.