We offer a wide variety of services to meet your needs.
We would love to listen to your estate planning concerns and help you decide the best plan for your family. Our estate planning attorneys can help you with all your will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive, living will, guardianship, probate, and litigation needs.
Check out our Top 4 recommended services.
Do I need an Estate Plan?
If you are wondering if you should have an estate plan, YOU SHOULD if you….own a home, have children, or have investments or assets of value.
No matter which stage you are in life, it’s important to protect your loved ones and your assets. Below is a general list of documents we typically recommend our clients have:
A will is a plan or custom legal document with instructions of how you want to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries upon your death. In it, you appoint your personal representative (executor) to pay expenses, taxes, and describe how they should distribute your assets. If you have children, a will is the where you designate a guardian for them.
A will is a great start to protecting your assets; however, it must be filed in probate court after your death if you do not have a trust in place. Without a trust, your executor should hire an attorney to help them through this process.
Probate is the legal court process for managing and transferring your assets if you become incapacitated or pass away. A will does not take effect until you die. It cannot help you while you are alive to protect or manage your assets if you become incapacitated. That’s why it is important to have the other estate planning documents listed below to help protect and provide for you and your family while you are alive.
A durable power of attorney is a legal document where you name another person (your agent) to act on your behalf if you are unable to. In it, you decide the scope of what your agent can and cannot do on your behalf. Typically, an agent will have the power to make decisions, sell, invest, and spend your assets for you. We recommend a durable power of attorney over a traditional power of attorney because it continues if you are incapacitated or after your death.
A health care directive combines a health care power of attorney and living will. It is a legal document where you authorize someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. This person can be the same or different from your other agent.
We also provide a helpful document approved by the state of Utah and doctors which helps you talk to your health care power of attorney and other family members about possible situations and what your health care wishes are for a variety of different situations. This document combined with a living will helps decrease family emotional stress, conflicts, and possible court intervention.
The living will section gives health care providers instructions on how and when you want life-sustaining measures to be used. It expresses what you want, but does not give anyone the authority to speak for you, which is why it is important to combine with a health care power of attorney.
There are different types of trusts to meet different goals and life situations. A revocable living trust is the type of trust we most often recommend because you can use it during your lifetime and you can change it if your needs change. We recognize all situations are different, so we customize all trusts to meet the needs of our clients and their families. After discussing your family situation, our attorney will recommend the type of trust that will best meet your requirements.
Regardless the type, a trust is an essential part of estate planning because your beneficiaries can avoid probate and the cost of it. We usually recommend a revocable living trust because you can change the provisions any time, you keep control of your assets, and you make decisions on all your financial affairs. You can transfer your assets into it during your life and still have control now; while already making the decision of how to distribute to your beneficiaries later.
A trust has three main parts: 1. The grantor (usually you), creates the trust and transfers assets to it. 2. The beneficiaries (usually your family) receive the income and/or assets according to your instructions in the trust. 3. The trustee (usually yourself with a backup spouse or close trusted friend) manages the trust assets. Because a trust is a legal entity that continues to exist after your death, property titled in the trust does not need to pass through probate.
Probate If you have recently lost a parent or loved one who did not have a Will, Trust, or if there are questions about these documents, I can also help you through the probate process.
We would love to talk to you more about your estate plans. Please call me for a free evaluation at 801.810.4LAW.
Stowell Crayk and Bown PLLC The Law Firm
2225 South State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
Phone: (801) 944-3459
Fax: (801) 483-0705
Email Vicky Nicolaides
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