Estate planning can be an unpleasant topic to discuss. While the idea of death makes most people uncomfortable, it is nonetheless important to plan for what happens to your assets and loved ones after you pass.
That’s not all estate planning is, however. Proper estate planning can help control your properties, make plans if you become disabled, bestow what you have to whomever you want, whenever you want, and much more.
The best way to make sure that you get the most out of your estate plan is to tailor it to your family’s unique situations. No circumstances are quite the same, so generic trusts and wills may not be right for you.
In this article, we will help you navigate through the world of estate planning to make sure you and your family have the information you need when you need it most.
Your Utah Estate Planning Questions: Answered
There is no denying that legal matters can be a handful of problems and a bit of a chore. With loads of unanswered questions and frustrating issues, it’s safe to say that a guide would be helpful.
Here we will cover the most commonly asked questions in estate planning. Dive in to make sure that all of your questions have answers.
Question #1. What Is The Difference Between A Trust And A Will?
This is one that confuses many people. The prime difference is that a will involves all of the property in your name, while a trust can only contain the particular assets that have been placed into that trust.
This means that a will can be used to express your wishes after death, but a trust is activated even if you are still alive and well. A trust also enables you to avoid probate and allows more of a control level than a will can provide. Your needs and the needs of your family will determine which of these will best fit.
Question #2. What Is Probate Used For?
Probate is a process or procedure that can prove a will valid or invalid, administer the will, and can look after people who can’t make their own financial decisions like:
- Minor children (typically under the age of 18)
- Incapacitated Adults (usually anyone 18 years of age or older that may suffer from a physical or mental impairment)
- People who died before planning their estate
While probate proceedings can be pricey and time-consuming, they can play a massive part in ensuring everything that needs taking care of will be. Some people may choose to avoid probate to save money or keep from causing an ordeal for those named in their will.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so you must take the time to find out which one is best for what you have in mind.
Question #3. Should I Have A Power Of Attorney?
Giving someone a power of attorney can be a powerful tool in your estate planning by allowing them the ability to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable. This can go a long way in patching up a widespread blind spot in estate planning.
Power of attorney comes in three different flavors:
- A financial power of attorney to make the finance-related decisions
- Healthcare power of attorney to make the health-related decisions
- A general power of attorney to make any of the decisions.
These are each important and can be broken down further to name just certain people to make individual decisions in each field. The particulars of your needs will also play a part in deciding which of these will be best for you.
Without appointing someone with power of attorney, you and your family will have to involve the probate court in the event of your incapacitation to determine who should make these decisions for you. These decisions will be made under the supervision of the probate court and may or may not be what you or your family needs or wants.
Question #4. Is A Will Really Necessary?
Without proper estate planning, your assets will be passed according to the laws of the state of your residence when you die. While your situation may require specific considerations, a ‘state plan’ is not required to follow your wishes or those requirements.
Typically the assets unassigned to a will or trust can be subjected to many issues like:
- Higher taxes
- Place children under the care of the state
- More significant expenses for your family
- Unanticipated second marriage beneficiaries
- And so many more
The importance of a will comes from planning for the unexpected, and unexpected situations often happen. By giving you control over your assets and plans for your loved ones, you find yourself in the enviable position of caring for people even after you pass on.
A will can also be a great way of defending your assets and loved ones from the drama of fighting over what you’ve left behind. This can potentially lead to devastating court battles that can divide a family that is already grieving. A will or trust can allow your family to move through the stages of grief confidently by knowing that your wishes are being honored.
Question #5. Do I Need An Attorney?
Finding an estate planning attorney and carefully tailoring your estate plans is a sure-fire way of ensuring everything that needs to be covered will be covered.
While the state laws will have a set of rules to decide who will be your representative and who will become the guardian of any children, these rules typically will not consider your wishes.
However, an attorney will make sure that everything goes off smoothly so that you don’t have to worry. Their job will be to make sure to have a plan for everything, and they spend a lot of time learning how to do it right.
Estate Planning Is Essential To Protecting Your Estate And Your Family
Dealing with death and planning for what comes after can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be.
At ProvenLaw, our years of expertise and proven practices are employed to offer clarity, resolution, and peace for our clients and their loved ones. Whether you need to adjust an existing trust or are looking to create a new one, to draft a power of attorney or a will, or to plan for your estate in any other capacity, please contact us for your complimentary personal consultation and we’ll get you on the road to peace of mind.